Opposition grows to possible Forestry Commission/Natural England merger

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is calling on the Government to maintain a strong, focussed Forestry Commission in England and warns that it would strongly oppose any merger with Natural England.

Rumours of a merger have circulated for more than a year and as the Government prepares to announce its response to the Independent Forestry Panel, RFS director of development Simon Lloyd says the Forestry Commission is central to delivering the Panel's core recommendation to create a strong woodland culture.

He said:" Any attempts to merge Forest Services (the FC arm working with the private sector) with other bodies would dilute the voice of forestry in England. It is the exact opposite to what is needed and would undermine delivery of the Panel's ambitions from the start.

"Along with many organisations we fear that the mergers which will create Natural Resources Wales this spring will be detrimental for forestry there, and we would urge the Government not to go down the same lines in England.  

"We are not against change to make better use of existing resources, but we are looking for a strengthened Forestry Commission, not a weakened one. Many of the FC's woodland advisers are professional foresters and have worked as practical managers during their career.  Woodland Managers really value working with people with a practical understanding of the challenges they face - it is something that should be fostered by Government."

The RFS also fears that a major reorganisation would take the focus off  the vital challenges to provide effective controls against the threats of diseases and pests across the nation.

Lloyd added: "'The current tree disease emergency makes time consuming re-organisation the last thing the forestry sector can afford. Owen Paterson has shown commendable leadership to date and we strongly support his ambition to give more priority to tree health.

"This is not just about money, it is about leadership and with new Ministers and a new Director of the Forestry Commission in England it is the right time to re-focus our efforts through a strong and cohesive Forestry Commission."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.

Blowers, Vacs and Sweepers: pedestrian and tractor-mounted kit

Blowers, Vacs and Sweepers: pedestrian and tractor-mounted kit

These machines offer a step up in power for those tackling bigger clean-up jobs and can help to keep costs down, Sally Drury explains.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Arboriculture Contracts & Tenders

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources