The Future is Forestry: Working for the wood - and the trees

Planting more trees and using more wood should be at the heart of the UK’s ambitions to achieve our shared net zero goal and to create a secure domestic supply chain.

With a General Election set to take place on 4 July 2024, Confor has identified priorities for policymakers to ensure a resilient and sustainable future for the UK’s forestry and wood processing industries.

In the run up to GE24, we will be engaging with political parties to ensure the voice of the sector is heard loud and clear. Return to this page at any time for an update on our activities and communications.

Confor's 5-Point Plan | GE24 Manifesto: The Future is Forestry | How to get involved | News & Updates

Delivering certainty and growth

This 5-point plan by the forestry industry sets out how to put timber security at the core of the upcoming election. It builds on the objectives of The National Wood Strategy for England, published by Confor in December 2023. We urge all political parties to work with us to deliver it.

  1. Create more forests: As part of the CCC’s target, plant at least 9,000 ha annually in England, including at least 3,000 ha of wood-producing forests, and protect all our existing forests.
  2. Create a Timber Security Strategy: Commit to a future level of sustained domestic wood production that will see the proportion of timber imports to the UK reduce, including from endangered forests overseas.

  3. Promote Home-Grown Wood: Set a target to significantly increase the number of new homes in England built with domestically sourced timber frames by 2030. Utilise government’s procurement power to make homegrown wood the material of choice for all government construction and renovation work.

  4. Develop a Skills Action Plan: To ensure these goals are met, implement a skills action plan in partnership with industry, to address workforce needs in the forestry and wood sector, including initiatives to help armed forces veterans enter the industry.

  5. Communicate the big messages: Surveys repeatedly show that people love trees, and wood products, but don’t often join up the two. A communications campaign should promote the importance of forests, timber security, and the economic and environmental benefits of the forestry and wood sector.

Download our 5-point plan.

Confor comparison of 2024 election manifestos

With the election campaigns focused on public spending and public services it is difficult to know what plans the respective parties have in regard to forestry and wood use.  To assist members in understanding the commitments made by the main parties we have reviewed each of their 2024 election manifestos and identified the commitments made that are relevant to the sector and that relate to our 5 point action plan.

Download our GE 2024 Party Manifesto Analysis

The Future is Forestry: Working for the wood - and the trees


Get involved

We need your help in constituencies across the country to reach out to and influence as many local candidates and parties as we can. We have created a letter template to help you write to or email your local candidates, which we hope you will use to support Confor's manifesto and our 5-point action plan.

You should feel free to adapt this letter to reflect the situation and specific priorities of your business and for your region. To aid in reflecting the situation in your community, in collaboration with Pryor & Rickett Silviculture we have compiled a record of the woodland cover for each constituency in the country. Our thanks to Pryor & Rickett for their work on this project.

Find your candidate

As of 6 June, 131 current MPs have indicated they will not be running in the 2024 UK General Election. As a result of a 2023 Boundary Commission report, there have been significant boundary changes for this election. It is important that you are aware of the candidates running in your constituency.

Find the candidates in your region.

How to get further involved

We recognise that members have differing levels of capacity to engage. Whatever your capacity it is important that your voice is heard. As such we have developed a range of activities that should provide every member an avenue to influence the issues.

Find out what you can do.

We invite members to contact Jon Garson, Confor Policy and Public Affairs Officer, with any further queries about getting involved. You can follow Confor's announcements on our social channels with the hashtag #BackBritishTimber.

Our latest political activity

The Woodland Trust and Confor are calling on all political parties to commit to urgent action to get tree planting back on track, with new investment and policy initiatives. Expanding tree cover is essential for tackling the climate and nature crises and providing vital sustainable economic growth. The minimum required by legal targets is 16.5% tree cover by 2050, but progress in recent years has fallen short of what is needed to meet that.

The Woodland Trust and Confor are also calling on the new government to protect existing woodlands from threats of pests, disease and climate change and to work with them to bring woodland into sustainable management. Only 7% of England’s valuable native woodland is currently in good condition. Urgent funding and cooperation with the sector is needed to support the green jobs caring for the woods and forests we already have.

Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said: "All political parties have supported greater tree planting, but we need to accelerate the rate of woodland creation in England. Momentum has been building in recent years, and it’s vital that the next government builds on that and commits the modest sums of money required to unlock huge benefits for jobs, the environment and tackling climate change."

Dr Darren Moorcroft, Woodland Trust CEO, added: "We need all parties to set out plainly how they are going to meet tree targets, support green jobs and give nature a fighting chance for future generations. With the General Election looming, this is a pivotal moment for woods and trees. Woodland wildlife is still declining, irreplaceable habitats like ancient woods need urgent protection and restoration. Trees are one of the strongest weapons we have to tackle the nature and climate crises, so whoever forms the government after July 4th needs to act for people and the planet."