Forestry in England’s National Parks – have your say!

6 November 2018

Help us to ensure forestry and timber are considered in the review of England’s National Parks and AONBs.

Nearly 70 years after National Parks and AONBs (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) were first established, a new review will ensure designated landscapes are fit for the future.

The 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs cover about 25% of England. They have the potential to play a vital part in increasing England’s forest cover and timber production, but there is a danger that the review will fail to consider the opportunities provided by the sector.

It is vital that you respond to the consultation, and ensure the review panel hears of widespread support to grow the trees we need.

How do I respond?

What should I say?

1. Tell your story: why will better support for productive woodlands be good for your business, for your National Park or AONB, and for England?

2. Ask the review team to recommend policies to promote productive woodlands and forestry. In particular we suggest you ask that they:

  • Include a section in the review on the potential for forestry and timber to deliver multiple benefits for the environment, community and economy as an asset for the nation.
  • Join up thinking on land use: in particular the potential of forestry on farms as an income stream, carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat.  Confor’s report on Farm Forestry provides a useful basis for this.
  • Join up thinking on the supply chain: the possibility of forests to supply local processors and provide local, sustainable construction materials.
  • Include sustainable wood fuel (firewood and chip) management, which adds value to unmanaged woodlands and creates local employment without skewing the wider supply chain.
  • Include consideration of the likely impact of pests and diseases (mammalian, insect and pathogen).
  • Calculate the potential of forestry in National Parks and AONB’s to contribute to national carbon reduction targets through new woodland creation. Confor’s report on the carbon benefit of forestry and timber provides a useful basis for this.

Who should respond?

Better support for forestry and woodland will have multiple benefits for many stakeholders:

  • Woodland owners, struggling to access grants for woodland management or expansion;
  • The wood-processing sector, which has invested substantially in sawmills and wood processing to create jobs and add value to timber, but faces a severe lack of supply in coming years due to the lack of planting;
  • Farmers, prevented from integrating profitable timber production into their business by the lack of grants and difficult applications process;
  • The public, who benefit from woodlands to provide recreational opportunities, diverse wildlife habitats, improved air quality, enhanced climate resilience and carbon sequestration, enhanced biodiversity, and timber products like ‘home-grown homes’.

If you have any questions, please contact Caroline Ayre, caroline@confor.org.uk.