Confor's response to recent flooding
Confor has been very active following the devastating floods across the UK - and I wanted to update you on all the relevant activity.
Clearly, the first priority is to ensure that tree planting is seen as part of a long-term solution and that has definitely been achieved, with considerable media coverage flagging up the benefits of tree planting to flood mitigation.
Confor has also:
* Written to the Secretary of State, Liz Truss MP, asking to meet her (along with The Woodland Trust) to discuss specific action which can be taken to encourage significant new tree planting in river catchments.
* Commissioned an updated report on forestry and flooding - drawing on the Confor/Forest Research report published last March - covering the context of the recent foods, the contribution tree planting can make to alleviate flooding in the long term, positive case studies - and what happens next. This report will be complete within the next two weeks.
* Put the focus on forestry and flooding at the next meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry (APPGF) - MPs attending the meeting on February 2nd will receive a copy of the new report and Tom Nisbet will deliver a short presentation on forestry and flooding after an introduction from Confor CEO Stuart Goodall and myself. There will also be contributions from APPGF chair Chris Davies MP and vice-chair Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, who has called for a massive increase in tree planting ambitions following the floods.
* Ensured further publicity - forestry and flooding will be the focus of forthcoming articles in both The Scotsman and Scottish Field and Confor is working hard to try to build on the broadcast coverage (including Channel 4 News) to get the issue onto programmes like Countryfile.
* Arranged for me to speak at a major policy conference on flooding in London this month. Forestry and flooding will also be high on the agenda for Confor's pre-election conference in Edinburgh in March, with Hugh Chalmers from The Tweed Forum speaking.
* Engaged heavily in Twitter conversations to ensure the wider world is aware of what forestry can contribute to mitigate against future flooding.
Please be assured that Confor is working hard on your behalf to ensure that the UK Government and its agencies takes appropriate action to maximise the key role tree planting can play in flood mitigation.
Please don't hesitate to contact Confor if you have any comments on this major issue.
Andrew Heald, Technical Director, Confor