The BWF has welcomed the final report by the Independent Panel on Forestry, which was released earlier this month. The document, commissioned by Defra last year, calls for England’s woods and forests to be re-valued for all the benefits they provide. These benefits include the locking up of carbon, and the use of wood as a raw material for products including joinery, timber frame buildings, furniture, flooring, fuel, and paper. It calls for a revival of a woodland culture that appreciates how important trees are for people, nature and the economy.
Amongst the actions suggested are:
• the strengthening of wood supply chains and promotion of the use of wood more widely across society and economy
• more people being able to enjoy access to woodlands
• the creation of a coherent and resilient ecological network at a landscape scale
The findings of the panel come less than two years after ministers planned a massive sell-off of Britain’s public forests, which was soon abandoned after nationwide uproar. The report makes clear that the Panel believes the public forest estate is a national asset, which should remain in public ownership.
The document also calls for, “a renewed understanding of the potential for wood as a contemporary product, with new demand and market opportunities, and wood a material of choice for high-value and long-lasting products.”
BWF Chief Executive, Iain McIlwee commented,
“The Independent Panel on Forestry have produced an excellent and considered report, well worth reading if you work in the timber industry. I only hope that the focus will accelerate much needed activity – a long term vision is great, but we need short-term focus. The recent debate on the inclusion of the European forestry industries in climate change commitments may help here. The supply chain has a vital role in safeguarding our forests and the panel’s work emphasises the benefits of using long lasting wood products such as those incorporated within construction. With the “Wood First” campaign gathering momentum, there a clear message to policymakers to support investment in the timber trades in order to deliver a more sustainable future.”
Read the Independent Panel on Forestry report on the Defra website at: https://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports