The importance of forestry, and the need for continued Government support through Brexit and beyond, has been recognised in an Efra Select Committee Report released today, Forestry in England: Seeing the wood for the trees.
The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across England and Wales, has welcomed the report, calling it an important reminder of the contribution of forestry to our landscapes, environment and economy.
Key recommendations include:
· Streamlining the administration of the forestry Countryside Stewardship Scheme, this is currently administered by three organisations – the RPA, Natural England, and the Forestry Commission.
· Making certain the dual benefits of forestry and agriculture are recognised, in creating a post-Brexit land use policy.
· That the Government should provide certainty on how it will fill the gap in forestry research funding after the UK leaves the European Union.
Mike Seville, Forestry Adviser at the CLA, has said: “Forestry is an important feature of our landscapes. It makes a vital contribution to our economy, and plays a critical role in meeting our environmental objectives.
“We can do better to ensure we have enough well managed and profitable forestry in the UK, and we are pleased the Committee has agreed with us that Brexit is an opportunity to guarantee that supporting it, alongside agriculture, is a policy priority.
“We are pleased to see that the Committee has added its voice to ours in calling for the streamlining of funding bodies for forestry, and that it has recognised the importance of forestry to the economy and environment, as on a level with agriculture. We support the Committee’s view that a single administrative body would be better able to ensure that woodland across England is managed to the UK Forestry Standard.”