Woodland Policy Enabling Programme - update and request for feedback

Closed 25 Sep 2013

Opened 31 Jul 2013


The Government’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement January 2013 made a number of commitments to support the future of our forests in England. One of the most important was that England’s Public Forest Estate would remain secured in public ownership. It said that a new body will be created to hold the Estate in trust for the nation: ‘The new body will have greater independence from Government and greater freedom to manage its resources and maximise its income, but with the right safeguards in place to operate for the long-term benefit of people, nature and the economy’.[1]

Government’s forestry policy statement of January 2013 also set out that Government would retain a core of forestry expertise with the capacity to deliver a range of functions, duties, and powers; work with devolved nations to deliver cross-border functions such as research, standards, and tree health centrally where appropriate; and that we would review Government’s forestry functions alongside the triennial review of Natural England and the Environment Agency

Conclusions from the review of forestry functions were announced at the Forestry Forum on 3rd July 2013 and published in a report.  The triennial review of Natural England and the Environment Agency, concluded, among other things, that Forest Services would not be merged with Natural England or the Environment Agency.  We are now working with Forestry Commission Trade Unions (FCTU), staff, Defra, and external stakeholders on the best way of advancing the conclusions of the review. Ministers have not yet made any decisions arising from the forestry functions review report.

The Woodland Policy Enabling Programme was set up by the Forestry Commission and Defra in May this year to ensure that the work to develop advice to Ministers on all these issues, and in due course to implement the changes which are made, is carried out in an integrated manner, taking full account of the implications for all the objectives of the Forestry Commission in England and the work and interests of all the staff who contribute to it. This includes the work of staff providing corporate functions and cross-border functions, including Forest Research.

Your feedback is now sought on two documents: “Towards a new public forest estate management body”, which develops further the initial working premises document published on 3rd July, and the final report of the “Review of Forestry Functions”. In giving us your views, you may also want to refer to the Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement.

The Forestry Commission is formally consulting its trades unions and staff in connection with the Woodland Policy Enabling Programme, and we welcome your input too. It would assist us in collating feedback if you could provide your comments with reference to the following questions.

Background information can be found in the Introduction section under 'Related information'.

This consultation closed on 25 September 2013, earlier responses are encouraged, as these will help inform work in progress. Feedback by 28 August would help inform the stakeholder workshop planned for early September.


[1] Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement, Jan 2013, Ministerial Foreword, p2.



  • Landowner / manager
  • Local community member
  • Forestry Commission staff
  • Forest visitor
  • Forestry Commission agent / contractor / partner
  • Government department / agency or unitary authority
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity
  • Sports group
  • Commercial business
  • Wildlife management
  • Travel and tourism
  • Wood processor - including timber and woodfuel production
  • Media
  • Woodland group
  • Education and academia


  • Organisational change
  • Volunteering, skills and careers
  • Commercial opportunities
  • Education and learning
  • Discovery Pass / membership
  • Recreation
  • Events and concerts
  • Tourism
  • Timber, wood products and woodfuel
  • Grants and licences
  • Woodland management
  • Wildlife management
  • Pests and Diseases