News & Events

eNews September 2011


... once again to this latest issue of Confor's eNews.  We are pleased to welcome new members who have joined since our last issue:

Liz Sharkey Forestry, Leicestershire
UK Land and Farms, Hampshire
Cairngorm Lodges, Aberdeenshire
Cundy Systems, Worcestershire
Hetas, Gloucestershire
Nick Pitcher, Oxfordshire
Cameron Ross, Ross-Shire
Adam Cross, Sheffield

Remember, the eNews is just one part of the Confor communications package.  It is circulated between issues of our industry-leading magazine Forestry and Timber News - now published six times a year.  All Confor members should receive a complimentary copy of FTN. Non-members can subscribe to eNews by sending your details to and we will add you to our mailing list.

FC England reorganisation - Confor response

Like most parts of government, FC England has been subject to deep cuts to its budget. Following an internal review and staff consultation, a new structure is being developed within the timeframe of the current financial settlement, up to 2014/15.

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Renewable Energy Association launches ‘Back Biomass' campaign and RSPB produces report

A recently launched REA campaign and RSPB report address sustainable sourcing of biomass for renewable energy, but do not address issues of UK wood supply.

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Confor's submission to the England forestry panel and new industry film

While Confor's chief executive, Stuart Goodall, sits on the independent forestry panel, he is not there formally as a representative of Confor.  Confor has responded to the consultation undertaken by the panel.

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Joint industry letter to Welsh minister  

Confor joined with other industry organisations to appeal to John Griffiths, Wales Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, for FC Wales to be excluded from a proposed merger with the Environment Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales, and for all matters forestry to be the responsibility of one minister. This letter accompanies continued direct lobbying by Confor of other ministers and politicians from all parties, as well as, a number of meetings with key officials. Stuart Goodall also provided evidence to the Office of Government Commerce, who undertook a review into the process surrounding the proposed merger.

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Confor briefs Scots farming journalists and secures seat on advisory group  

Confor organised an extremely successful visit by Scots farming journalists to the BSW/Howie sawmill and a local estate, whose forest is managed by Scottish Woodlands. The visit followed months of negative press around new tree-planting that was damaging the forestry sector. Farming journalists gained an appreciation of the forestry and wood-processing sector and took away a much more supportive attitude to appropriate woodland expansion. The success of the event could perhaps be best measured by the chief executive of NFU Scotland who commented ‘you must have played a blinder!'

Scottish Government has also established an advisory group to explore practical mechanisms for woodland expansion that includes Confor. The first meeting of the group was described as "frank and constructive" by its chairman, Andrew Barbour, a Confor member.

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Confor supports new service set to boost timber industry innovation

Confor is supporting the Wood Products Innovation Gateway (WPIG), a £1.5m, three-year initiative to raise the value of the forest resource in Scotland. It aims to help Scottish small businesses to develop a whole range of new added-value, wood-based products, processes and construction systems from Scottish-grown timber.

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P ramorum in larch in Derbyshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and west Scotland

Meetings have been held in the new outbreak areas to inform and raise awareness of the implications. A group of organisations' representatives from across northern England, including Confor, led by Neville Elstone of Cumbria Woodlands, has been set up to assist with communications, similar to those set up in other affected parts of the country.

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Timber industry growth

The UK timber industry (incorporating imported as well as domestic production) has experienced growth for the first time in three years, according to a new report by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF). But a sharp rise in running costs and subdued demand sees many companies continuing to struggle.

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The Confor Oscars  

It's so easy now for anyone to shoot a film and post it on the internet and Confor would like to encourage this in a bid to raise public awareness of the sector. We would like to build a library of films and footage that we can showcase and promote.

So if you would like to go out and try your hand, or have already taken film of a large tree being felled, machines working, planting, woodland wildlife, conversations, or simply aspects of a day in your (forestry/woody) life, please share these with us, with a chance to win a great prize.

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Gangmasters pilot

GLA has launched its trial of a lighter touch to the forestry industry. The pilot, launched on 08 August 2011, is scheduled to run for 12 months and will:

  • test whether a lighter regulatory approach can be applied while still safeguarding vulnerable workers' rights , and
  • explore if companies that require a licence are more or less likely to comply with the GLA's licensing standards.

Along with the pilot, the GLA has published two new briefs - one on the pilot and the other an update on how GLA sees licensing apply to forestry.

Woodland Carbon Code

The Woodland Carbon Code, launched in July, provides a consistent national approach, as well as clarity for potential investors. It is hoped that this will encourage businesses to buy the carbon in new woodland, thereby boosting woodland creation, confident that it has real value.  In addition, Defra has issued new government guidance on how organisations should measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Confor's APF 2012 - First exhibitor site meeting

The first site meeting for exhibitors to choose their site for APF 2012 is 06 October 2011, at 2pm, at The Kings Court Hotel, Kings Coughton, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 5QQ. Confor members have priority and can meet at 11 am. 

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Biodiversity 2020  

Biodiversity 2020 - a strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services was published by Defra in August. There are some good words about forestry, including:

"We will bring a greater proportion of our existing woodlands into sustainable management and expand the area of woodland in England."

Download the strategy here.

AOD research appeal and Plane disease; OPM  

Woodland Heritage is appealing for donation to fund further Forest Research work on acute oak decline. Read the letter here.

Meanwhile in London, a worrying disease, Massaria (Splanchnonema platani), has been confirmed. Previously only found in Germany and Holland, it is attacking the capital's iconic plane trees (Platanus 'x' hispanica). And the expansion of oak processionary moth beyond London has also caused concern. Read More

Utility arb courses

Two revised utility arboriculture courses are available from Lantra Awards for people working in proximity to electrical equipment for the purpose of maintaining or clearing trees and vegetation.

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Lantra's NOS consultation

Tree professionals are urged to participate in the final on-line consultation, from 01 September to 08 November 2011, to review the roles, skills and job responsibilities required for people working with trees and timber, and for a chance to win a new chainsaw.

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UKWAS update

The revision of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) passed a key milestone in July when the UKWAS Steering Group concluded its final draft on schedule. This has been passed to FSC UK and PEFC UK who are seeking the standard's endorsement through their international bodies. The objective is to achieve the necessary approvals prior to launching the UKWAS 3rd edition in November.

Second chance from woodfuel fund in Yorkshire  

Businesses have a second chance to apply for investment in woodfuel heating installations, boilers of 100kW or above. The investment comes from CO2Sense, the not-for-profit low carbon expert company.  CO2Sense has already invested around £200,000 in new biomass installations this year. With payments under the RHI now confirmed, using woodfuel for heat is an excellent alternative to traditional fuels. Investment from CO2Sense does not have to be repaid until the installation is earning payments and making cost savings.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2011. Contact Jan Phillips on 0113 237 8416 or

To find out more, visit


Confor events  

North England regional meeting, to be held jointly with RFS, at Dalton Estate, East Yorkshire, on 28 September 2011. More details.

Wales and Marches meeting in conjunction with Woodknowledge Wales and Forest Research: the first seminar in this second series on species choice will be held on 07 October 2011 at Brechfa Forest, Abergorlech, Carmarthenshire.  More details

Confor's APF2012, is to be held at Ragley Estate, Warwickshire, 13-15 September 2012. More details.  

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