Confor invites minister to engage in depth with forestry

14 June 2017

Confor has picked up where it left off before the recent election, pressing the case for forestry with UK ministers.

Chief Executive Stuart Goodall has written to Dr Thérèse Coffey MP after it was confirmed that she would return to her post of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Life Opportunities - the brief that includes forestry. 

Dr Coffey will work alongside George Eustice MP (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food) and report to new Environment Secretary Michael Gove. She has been invited by Mr Goodall to attend the Confor Woodland Show in September, as well as an event at Conservative Party conference in October and the re-scheduled Confor Westminster conference, now planned for November 29th. 

Mr Goodall said: "We are very keen to engage early and often with Dr Coffey now she has been reconfirmed in post. The Conservative election manifesto clearly reinforced the commitment to plant 11 million trees between 2015 and 2020 - and Dr Coffey herself has told a Commomns committee that she thinks the target can be reached comfortably. 

"We look forward to discussing with the minister the opportunity to drive up planting rates, and managing and restocking England’s forests. After the drop-off in new planting, we really need to hit the ground running in this session." 

Mr Goodall said he hoped that Dr Coffey would attend the Confor Woodland Show and see the £2 billion forestry industry up close, and fully understand its economic, environmental and social value. 

"We also hope she will speak at what has become a very popular Fringe event at Conservative Party conference - as well as committing again to our Westminster policy conference." 

Dr Coffey had agreed to attend the Westminster event on June 7, but it was postponed after Theresa May announced a snap election would be held on June 8. The event will now be held at RICS, Great George Street, Westminster, on November 29th.