It sets out policy recommendations in the five key areas identified by Confor as crucial to the future success of forestry and timber, which is worth almost £2 billion to the UK's economy and employs more than 43,000 people.
The five areas are:
- New planting and restocking of forests;
- Rural policy and funding;
- Environmental legislation;
- Tinber standards, trade regulations and migrant labour;
- Plant health
Andrew Heald, Confor's Technical Director, who wrote the recommendations with input and feedback from Confor members and the wider industry, said: "The recommendations develop the work of our our reports before and soon after the vote to leave the European Union and create a blueprint for the forestry and timber sector to shape a positive future, reflecting the areas which matter most to the industry."
In his introduction to the document, Stuart Goodall, Confor's Chief Executive, writes: "We believe the recommendations create an excellent foundation for forestry and timber to thrive.
"Brexit will have a huge impact, but we must not become consumed by it, or be paralysed by process. The decision to leave the European Union creates challenges, but also provides enormous opportunities as policies, support measures, regulations and trade agreements all change. We need to get stuck in and keep getting stuck in, explaining why backing forestry and timber is good for the country, not just the countryside."
Mr Goodall stressed that "unacceptably low" planting and restocking levels were a key priority, especially in England, and that it was important to ensure forestry's voice was strong and loud in debates on all aspects of post-Brexit policy and funding. He also said that collaboration with other rural interests was vital to ensure a thriving future for the wider rural economy as well as rural communities.
Mr Goodall's introduction also says: "We are living through times of great change and uncertainty and this is when strong, visible leadership is needed most". The new report also includes a timeline mapping out all Confor's work on Brexit, including three reports, a poll of members and two debates at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry (APPGF). The APPGF will discuss the latest report at its meeting next week.