Stuart Goodall. Chief Executive of Confor, said:
“It’s great to see forestry at the heart of Government thinking and to see its triple environmental, economic and social benefits recognised.
“The renewed commitment to tree planting is welcome, to deliver the timber needed to support a £2 billion industry providing more than 80,000 jobs.
“However, planting in England is at a modern-day low and we must increase it quickly. In Scotland, the appointment of former Chief Planner Jim Mackinnon to look at the bureaucratic barriers to planting has had a very positive impact and I’m pleased to see Confor’s idea of carrying out a similar exercise in England will be taken forward. It is vital the right person is entrusted with this key role.
“The commitment to use more home-grown timber in domestic construction is very welcome. The UK is the second-largest net importer of wood products in the world after China – a shameful state of affairs we must address.
“The new Tree Champion must understand the value of trees to our economy as well as our environment and communities, and encourage the planting of productive species to reduce our long-term reliance on importing wood from fragile global forests.
“Overall, this is a positive strategy for forestry and promises much. The challenge is to make rapid, effective progress. Confor looks forward to working closely with the government and its agencies to deliver on the potential of the strategy.”