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17th March 2017
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Way forward for forests and woodland is announced
At an event in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson received the first report from Grown in Britain, an initiative created six months ago with a mission to kick start a sustainable future for the UKs forests and woodland.
Welcomed by Government following the recommendation by the Independent Panel on Forestry in 2012, Dr Peter Bonfield OBE was asked to independently chair and develop the action-based initiative.
Grown in Britain has focussed on invigorating the sector by taking positive steps in three key areas: creating a new and stronger market pull for woodland products, developing a mechanism for a private sector funding stream that supports woodland management and creating a stronger wood culture that contributes to personal health and wellbeing, community engagement and encourages market demand for products.
Six months in and significant progress has been made which will act as a platform for future growth and development of the sector:
* Some 30 companies, including major construction contractors, with a collective materials and services purchasing power of £32 billion, have committed to a preference for procuring timber from UK woodlands
* A range of British timber products is being showcased as Grown in Britain: B & Q and Travis Perkins are showcasing wood fuel and timber products, Heals department store has launched a new range of British-made English ash furniture, and a wood fuel from a community forest in Bedfordshire is now on the market
* A new framework has been established that allows UK corporate organisations to report against their carbon by investing in UK-based woodland projects. This funding stream will facilitate the critical investment in our forest and woodland that is required to drive growth in the sector
* Products from all of the UK's woodlands now meet Government procurement standards because a new system has been recognised for smaller woodland owners
* Over 250 public events have taken place in the past six months and an annual week of public events and training days under the badge of Grown in Britain starts today. These range from bushcraft, fungi identification, seed collection events, to forest walks and woodland photography. Along with this, the forest and wood chain is opening its doors to the general public
"Grown in Britain's magic ingredient for making change happen has been through engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders - thousands of people passionate about the UK's woodlands and over 280 organisations from the forest and wood industry, community groups, campaigners, wildlife and woodland trusts, professional bodies and government" reports Dr Peter Bonfield OBE. "We are collectively proud of what we have achieved in a very short period of time and this will act as a successful template for the future development of our treasured woodland assets."
Following its initial report, Grown in Britain will continue to build on its many successes with a new team co-chaired by Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor and Steve Cook, Chair of the Environment Committee of UK Contractors Group.
Sir Harry Studholme, Forestry Commission Chair says: "Our country shows great passion for its woodlands and we are surrounded everyday by wood products in our homes, gardens and businesses. Wood supports the roofs over our heads, surrounds our gardens with fences and we see more and more premises built to high sustainability standards with wood at their core.
"What's often missing is the connection between wood, our woodlands and sustainable timber forests. Understanding that tree felling and replanting is good for woodland health, biodiversity and our economy should encourage more people and businesses to buy and supply wood Grown in Britain."
18th October 2013