John Kissock OBE receives award for services to forestry

28 February 2013

At the second Confor industry dinner, attended by 62 industry leaders, John Kissock OBE was presented with Confor’s award for distinguished service to forestry, by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Scotland’s minister for environment and climate change.

The annual dinner provides an opportunity for the minister to meet with industry representatives. Confor chairman George Webb, who opened the evening, set the scene by commenting on the extraordinary performance of the sector: “Against a background of the current economic climate and outlook, to be increasing wood production and wood conversion, to see continued significant capital investment and see increased exports of value added products, from our sector is very promising. We must be one of the very few industry sectors that can report this sort of growth throughout this recessionary period. An example is the increase of UK sawn softwood market share from some circa 20% to +40% over the last five years.”

He continued by referring to some recent key Confor activity, including securing £7m additional funding for SRDP, chief executive Stuart Goodall’s work on the England Forestry Panel and the resulting Grown in Britain project,  as well as, pests and diseases.  On the National Forest Inventory report, he commented: “However, the massive challenge for us remains how we maintain and grow output from this resource.  In other words, how do we increase commercial planting levels, both new planting and restock? The lack of commercial conifer planting over the last two decades is very apparent and will reflect significantly on future wood availability. 

“The precursor to any future investments in the processing sector and the continued success of our sector is the long-term availability of the correct wood supply. Confor is currently working up an action plan to deliver this challenge, which we will keep you all posted on.” 

Guest of honour at the Confor dinner, on 27 February 2013, was forestry minister Paul Wheelhouse, who spoke about the importance of forestry and wood products in mitigating the effects of climate change and to meeting Scottish Government’s carbon reduction targets, and thus the administration’s commitment to new woodland creation of 100,000 hectares in the next decade. He also explained that there would be an inevitable hiatus in SRDP grants at the transition in spring 2014, but Scottish Government has a contingency plan. 

Confor’s award for distinguished service to forestry was presented by the minister to John Kissock, formerly joint managing director of James Jones & Sons Ltd. Comparing it favourably to the recent Oscars, Stuart outlined some of John’s varied contributions to the sector: “There are two principal themes which run throughout John’s career. He has spent his career with one business and has given his time to represent and support the industry – to the benefit of us all. 

Explaining how John was the first forestry graduate to be recruited to JJS and some of the major developments he oversaw, Stuart continued: “John’s roll call of industry responsibilities is frankly remarkable. He has been: 

  • Director of TRADA and BRE
  • Chairman of the UK Timber Grading Committee
  • A member of Forestry Commission Scotland’s regional advisory committees
  • A trustee and chair of the Scottish Forestry Trust
  • And a director of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley 

“Since his so-called retirement from JJS in 2007, John has chaired Wood for Good and the Scottish Forestry and Timber Technologies leadership group. 

“In 2004, John was awarded an OBE for services to forestry, and in 2006, received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Napier University.” 

Commenting on the evening, Stuart concluded, “This was a great opportunity to bring together leaders from the forestry and timber sector, with Scotland’s forestry minister – who remarkably was one of the last to leave, even though he had to appear before a Holyrood committee the next morning  At the same time, it is an appropriate occasion to recognise some of the great individuals who contribute so much to the sector for the benefit of all, and John Kissock was seen by all as a very worthy winner.”