Industry News

Forestry Commission issues Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16

The Forestry Commission has released its Annual Report and Accounts 2015-2016.

The publication - available here - includes audited financial statements, which comply with statutory regulations, as well as the audit report. 

It also features recent projects, researches and key actions developed in 7 main areas:

  • Acute oak decline research
  • Urban tree canopies and ecosystem services
  • Using long-term experiments to guide future forestry
  • Evaluating the impact of Grow Wild
  • Ash trees resistant to Chalara
  • Eradication of the Asian longhorn beetle
  • Release of improved wind risk management tool

Major results achieved by the Commission include:

  • The allocation of £14.2m Rural Development Programme funding to woodland creation enabling landowners to plant 1,329 ha of new woodland through Countryside Stewardship
  • The launch of a four-year science programme under the Science and Innovation Strategy for Forestry in Great Britain (SIS) aimed to provide the context and framework for interdisciplinary research on the UK forestry sector
  • The publication of a study into the incorporation of biodiversity into the modelling of rotation length

Forestry Commission Chair Sir Harry Studholme said: "Our work to protect trees from pests, diseases, illegal felling and the effects of climate change this year has included vital monitoring, regulation and communication both locally and nationally. At cross-border level our Plant Health Service has joined the ‘One Government at the Border’ project to help monitor the movement of goods between countries, with a particular focus on monitoring wood packaging from Asia."

Mr Studholme added: "As we look to 2016-17 we will continue in our mission to protect, improve and expand our woodlands in the context of the wider Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) strategy – Creating a Great Place for Living. Striving for a cleaner, healthier environment, a thriving rural economy and a nation better protected against flood and plant diseases is at our heart, and we will work with others to achieve this."

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British Woodworking Federation calls for Apprenticeship Levy delay

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has announced it will support the call for one-year delay in the Apprenticeship Levy’s introduction

Whilst further information is expected imminently, the Apprenticeship Levy is currently scheduled to take effect in early 2017 and at the moment BWF, along with Build UK and the CBI, feel that this will give companies insufficient time to plan for the new arrangements. 

"With Apprenticeship Levy set to be introduced on 6 April 2017, some employers will be required to contribute to a new levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers", explains the BWF in a note.

"All employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, will be required to make an investment in apprenticeships. Businesses can benefit from this investment by training apprentices, although how the proposals are likely to impact on smaller business is currently unclear."

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PEFC launches pilot project to test feasibility of remote internal audits

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has launched a pilot project to test the feasibility of conducting internal audits remotely.

The PEFC Chain of Custody standard currently requires that the internal auditing program of a multi-site certification includes the physical, onsite auditing of every site annually, before the external audit is conducted by an independent certification body.

This initiative will allow participating organizations to establish and utilize their own computer assisted auditing techniques in order to conduct the internal audits of their sites remotely.

The results from this pilot project will then be taken into consideration in the ongoing revision of the PEFC Chain of Custody standard.

Any organization holding a valid PEFC Chain of Custody multi-site certificate - where the sites have largely homogeneous chain of custody processes - can apply to participate in this pilot project by completing this online registration form.

There will be an administration fee of 500 CHF (£384) for all the organizations chosen to take part in the pilot project.

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Planning permissions reach highest level since 2008, but it's not enough

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q1 of this year remained high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows. Permissions for 66,102 homes were granted in the first three months of the year in England, up 4% on the previous year. 

As underlined by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), permissions have risen steadily every year since 2009, with actual housing supply also increasing markedly over the past two years as more of the permissions have progressed to the point where builders can begin building. The last 12 months have seen a 66% increase in permissions granted on the nadir of the recession in 2009. Numbers are now only 0.3% below where they were at the highest point in early 2008.

Nonetheless, demand for new homes remains extremely strong. HBF estimates there is a shortfall of well over one million homes in England. Almost a third of young people (3.35m) are living at home with their parents and 1.24 million people are on housing waiting lists. The Help to Buy equity loan scheme continues to drive demand for new homes and interest rates remain historically low.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – up 22% on the previous year - as house builders increased output in response to the rise in demand for new homes.


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Confederation of Paper Industries appoints new Director General

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has appointed Andrew Large as new Director General. Mr Large - who will take office on 1st September - succeeds David Workman.

Mr Large [in the picture on the left] has worked in the EU Commission in Brussels, in the Steel Industry and has run two major trade associations, most recently The British Poultry Council.

He was also the Chairman of the Trade Association Forum between 2008 and 2011. 

On his appointment, Mr Large said: “I am delighted to be joining CPI. I have known David (Workman e.d.) for many years and greatly respect his achievements in the role. Post the UK referendum decision, these are especially challenging times for the UK’s Paper-based Industries and I am looking forward to working with the excellent CPI team to represent this vital industry in the UK, EU and further afield.”

Mr Workman commented: “My time at CPI has been very rewarding and hugely enjoyable, largely due to the tremendous support that I have received from the team and from the Members. However, the time is now right for a change in leadership, given the Brexit vote and the changes in government that have ensued. I believe that in appointing Andrew, CPI has made a wise choice and I wish him well in dealing with the challenges that will inevitably come his way in the future.”

Patrick Willink, President of CPI, added: “Under David Workman’s leadership, the CPI has established itself as a credible heavyweight Trade Association, with a great depth of knowledge and the ability to influence at a national and European level. This influence has, over the years, derived a great deal of value for our industry."

“The immediate future presents us with a whole new set of issues as we try to unravel the real impact of Brexit. Andrew Large’s previous experiences and areas of expertise will allow him to influence policy makers in both the UK and Europe to secure the best he can for our businesses.”


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