Forestry in England: Seeing the wood for the trees Contents


1.The Independent Panel on Forestry (IPF), chaired by the then Bishop of Liverpool, was set up in 2011 following “public outcry” at the then Government’s proposals to make changes to how the public forest was managed.1 The IPF published its Final Report in July 2012 which:

advised [the UK] Government on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England, and on the role of the Forestry Commission in implementing it.2

2.That Report made recommendations relating to the governance of forestry, access to forests and the long-term strategy for forestry. The Government responded to the IPF’s Report in January 2013 through the Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement, accepting some of the IPF’s recommendations.3

3.It has been nearly five years since the IPF Report was published. This inquiry was launched to scrutinise the work that the Government has undertaken since the publication of the IPF Report to secure the environmental, social and economic benefits of forestry that we explore in this Report. We have also scrutinised the overall effectiveness of forestry policy, support and strategy in England, including looking at these in the context of the UK leaving the European Union. We have not examined forestry policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as it is a devolved matter.

Our inquiry

4.We launched a call for evidence for our inquiry into Forestry in England on 25 July 2016. On 2 November 2016 we appointed a Sub-Committee to undertake the inquiry. The members of our Sub-Committee were Neil Parish (Chair), Chris Davies, Simon Hart, Dr Paul Monaghan, Rebecca Pow and Angela Smith. Owing to the Chair’s absence in January, the second oral evidence session was chaired by Angela Smith.

5.Our Sub-Committee examined how effectively current Government policies achieve the following objectives and how such polices should be developed in future to:

6.The Sub-Committee held two oral evidence sessions:

Over 70 pieces of written evidence were received as part of this inquiry from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including experts in the field, members of the public, recreation organisations, environmental organisations and the forestry sector. The evidence (oral and written) we received can be found on our website.5 We thank all those who gave oral and written evidence to our inquiry.

1 Independent Panel on Forestry, Final Report, 2012

4 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, “Forestry in England inquiry launched”, 25 July 2016

5 These can be viewed on the Committee’s website:

17 March 2017