Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has told the timber industry that big changes are afoot in the way timber operations are managed in Wales.
Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of NRW, says that recent high-profile issues in its commercial timber department will soon be a thing of the past and that it wants to reboot its relationship with the industry.
An audience of foresters at NRW’s annual timber customer meeting in Llanelwedd were told that measures to improve the governance of the organisation’s timber operations were already underway.
And it heard that, along with new ways of working, NRW wants to develop a closer working relationship with the industry with better engagement.
NRW will also shortly publish a review of its commercial forestry operations conducted by independent experts, Grant Thornton.
But while the report is not yet finalised, changes are expected in many aspects of NRW’s commercial forestry governance, procedures and financial reporting.
Clare Pillman said: “I want to emphasise that change is in the air.
“We’ll be making significant changes in the way we work and from now on we’ll be working with the timber industry in a new way.
“In future I expect our forest operations will maximise the benefits for the taxpayer and the industry.
“This is the start. It’s no more than that at the moment. But we are already making changes in the way we work.
“For example, structural changes at a senior level will mean this part of our business will be managed in a way which will give greater openness and accountability.
“I hope the industry can get behind those changes to make the whole picture more transparent and efficient.”
Among the commitments NRW will be making are:
- a promise to provide as much notice as possible before changes take place
- working to create the best environment for the timber industry within the parameters of other balanced objectives in the public forest estate
- reasserting some previous processes with which the industry was comfortable
- providing confidence on plans for long-term restocking
Clare Pillman added: “The timber industry is a vital part of the Welsh economy.
“And NRW has a good track record of delivering for it – we have met our targets for previous years’ commitments and are on track to do so again this year.
“We are determined to create the best environment we can for timber in Wales.
“That includes working closer with the industry and putting our house in order. “We believe it’s right for the industry to get behind these changes and work with us for a better future for NRW, the timber industry and the people of Wales.”