Confor pledges to provide strong leadership to sector in wake of Brexit

27 June 2016

Confor has pledged to continue to provide strong leadership for the forestry and timber sector after Brexit - and to work with all levels of government to deliver the best possible outcome for the industry.

A number of activities are already in place or underway.

Confor will build on its pre-referendum discussion paper, released in April, which looked at the key areas where the forestry and timber sector could be affected by a decision to vote Leave. It will engage industry experts to report on all those key areas - including grants, regulation, plant health and standards for trading timber - before producing an updated report.

The next meeting of the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry (APPGF) on July 12th will discuss what the Leave vote means and office-bearers from the APPGF have been briefed by Confor.

Last week, Confor's Chief Executive Stuart Goodall discussed the potential ramifications of the vote with Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing, and a further meeting on Thursday will address the specific issue of delivering Scotland’s tree planting targets.

In Wales, Martin Bishop will shortly meet with Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and our Wales chair, Mike Harvey has spoken with Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.

In addition, Confor members across the UK have been briefed on its plans and reassured that Confor will work to provide the answers they need at a time of enormous uncertainty.

"There are many questions and Confor will do its utmost to answer them as best we can, alongside proactively promoting the sector’s interests at a time of significant change" said Mr Goodall. "Feedback is already coming in from members and Confor is listening. We will reflect the views of members in our discussions with the UK Government and all the devolved administrations.

"The potential for a second independence referendum in Scotland adds a further dimension to the debate and it is crucial that we continue our effective engagement with politicians across the UK. Above all else, the forestry and timber sector needs straightforward information and strong leadership - and Confor will provide that."

If anyone has any questions or comments about the impact of the EU referendum vote, they are invited to email members@confor.org.uk