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Sustainable forestry strong in England

Latest figures published by Forestry Commission England show our woodlands are incredibly well protected and sustainable forestry remains strong.

According to records, just 0.4 per cent of trees felled in England were done illegally without a felling licence. Conservation habitats, such as heathland, have been restored from commercial plantations whilst keeping a slowly expanding wooded area overall. A thriving timber industry has increased domestic supply as imports have fallen.

Simon Hodgson, Forestry Commission England Chief Executive said:

“For the first time we have been able to publish a suite of new statistics to show what is happening to woods and forests in England and how Forestry Commission England is performing.

“The overall picture is great news for us. Protection of our woods and forests is strong with miniscule amounts of illegal felling. The general public are very much our eyes and ears on the ground and we are always heartened at the public’s willingness to report suspected illegal activity and we are developing an online system to make this quicker, easier and more accurate.

“We see domestic timber supplies increasing while imports shrink and a growing woodfuel network all of which boosts the local green economy. Commitments to restore and recreate conservation habitats from private and public plantations are being met while we see the overall area of woodland expanding. The Forestry Commission remains a leader as a significant land manager in the care of the Engalnd’s best wildlife conservation sites – Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – with 99.6% in target condition.

“All that said significant challenges remain. Everyone agrees we need much greater growth in creating new woodlands and we are working to significantly increase long term investment from the private sector. We are working to mitigate the threats from a changing climate to trees in the future from new pests and diseases and poor growing conditions. Last, but most certainly not least, is the appalling record of Health and Safety in the forestry sector: skills and training are high but the number of fatalities in a small industry must be tackled.

“We are already working with the sector to implement recommendations from the Forestry Regulation Task Force and look forward to receiving the Independent Forestry Panel’s final report to Government.”


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