Steps have been taken to support the forestry sector, but there is more to do and we must all work together.
That was the message from Lord Benyon, the keynote speaker at the Forestry Conference 2022 organised by the CLA, Grown in Britain and the Forestry Commission.
He also told delegates at Newbury Racecourse: “I want to be the minister who set us on the path of the annihilation of the grey squirrel.”
In his talk, Lord Benyon said we should be proud of non-native species as well as native ones, and emphasised the multitude of benefits of well-managed woodlands. He talked of skills and believes there has ‘never been a better time to look at a career in forestry’, and outlined how the government is fighting back against diseases by investing in plant health research to be a world leader.
Other sessions included a discussion between the CLA’s Graham Clark and Defra’s Naomi Matthiessen and Deborah Wells, covering woodland creation, the management of existing sites and the grants on offer across various schemes.
Meanwhile CLA President was ‘in conversation’ with Forestry Commission Chief Executive Richard Stanford, with working together a key theme. Mr Stanford said environmental targets will not be reached if we do not collaborate, while Mr Tufnell said CLA members have a crucial role to play and must keep pressure on the government to “put its money where its mouth is”.
The conference this year had a theme of ‘building resilience together’ and was supported by Pryor & Rickett Silviculture and Wessex Woodland Management Ltd.