Forestry task force delivers recommendations on reducing regulation

Forestry Commission chair Pam Warhurst has welcomed the red-tape busting Forestry Regulation Task Force, which delivered its final report and recommendations to the Government.

"The task force has done a fantastic job and have made recommendations, backed up by sustainable forestry management, which could make a real difference," she said.

"Reducing the regulatory burden for those with a proven history of high-quality forestry management could be a boost for the green economy and set the bar for the rest of the sector."

She added: "Furthermore, the commission will have a crucial part to play in ensuring its valuable services reach more owners, managers and businesses to improve the health of England's forests and woodlands."

The report, Challenging Assumptions, Changing Perceptions, challenges the Government to look at the way the forestry sector is regulated and is the culmination of nine months' work gathering information, engaging with and seeking views from the forestry sector.

The task force has made prioritised 15 of its 41 recommendations with a further 14 targeted at improve existing processes.

The recommendations, which are underpinned by the UK Forestry Standard, include developing and implementing a system of earned recognition that reduces regulation for managers with a good track record of sustainable woodland management.

The task force has recommended the immediate removal of forestry from the scope of the Gangmasters Licensing Act based on clear evidence of a low-risk sector.

Agriculture and forestry minister Jim Paice said Defra would publish its response early next year.

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