ConFor calls on Government to refocus on the big picture
ConFor has welcomed the Government’s proposal to establish a panel to “advise on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England”, noting that the Government’s consultation had failed to address the sector’s concerns.
“I met with the forestry minister Jim Paice, prior to the announcement, and explained that the leasing proposal was unlikely to work and that it did not address the concerns ConFor had previously raised”, explained ConFor chief executive Stuart Goodall.
“We had real concern that public forests could be purchased by large electricity companies which would starve existing businesses of wood, threatening thousands of rural jobs, and that money raised would not be reinvested in English forestry.
“I also explained that the industry was concerned that it had been negatively portrayed in the mainstream media, with scare stories about logging companies wanting to buy and cut down all the forests. The minister kindly apologised if that had been the case and explained that it had not been his intention to cause such damage.”
ConFor is now calling on Government to focus again on addressing the big issues facing all of England’s forests that were first raised with the minister last July.
“There are major challenges facing English forestry, including the threat from major energy companies and the previous government’s failure to protect and support commercial forestry, or to tackle the lack of management of over half of England’s forests.
“Clearly there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months and it will be important to keep talking to Government, taking the time to explain industry’s concerns and how they can be addressed”, concluded Stuart.