Jemima Cooper, Policy Manager, Institute of Chartered Foresters – Written Evidence (LUE0021)

 

1.0 About the Institute

 

1.1 The Institute of Chartered Foresters is the Royal Chartered body for tree professionals in the UK. Its membership covers the full range of tree professionals, and this range of expertise is one of its greatest strengths. It has 2,000 members who practise forestry, arboriculture and other related disciplines in the private and third sectors, central and local government, research institutions, universities and colleges throughout the UK. The Institute regulates standards of entry to the profession. It provides support to members, guidance to professionals in other sectors, information to the general public, and educational advice and training to students and tree professionals seeking to develop their careers.

 

2.0 Introduction

 

2.1 There is now a clear acknowledgement of the significant role trees will play in delivering government ambitions and mitigating the climate and nature crises – for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, flood mitigation, health and wellbeing and many more objectives. Among many competing uses for land in England, we need thriving trees and woodland managed by modern, sustainable forestry practice. We have a unique opportunity at this time of agricultural transition post-EU Exit and heightened awareness of the environmental crisis to ensure that trees and woodland can deliver what we need.

 

3.0 Questions

 

Pressures and challenges 

3.1          What do you see as the most notable current challenges in relation to land use in England? How might these challenges best be tackled? How do you foresee land use in England changing over the long term? How should competing priorities for land use be managed?

 

3.1.1 Recognising the need for lots more trees and woodland and government’s commitments on tree planting, the three main challenges are

  1. Finding the land for trees, especially without an integrated land use policy
  2. The critical skills shortage
  3. Lack of clarity and join-up of tree planting and management schemes reducing confidence.

 

3.1.2 Skills[1]

 

3.1.3 Incentives and support[3]

 

3.1.4 Long term

 

3.1.5 Working together

 

3.1.6 Role of government

 

3.1.7 Supplementary points

 

3.2          What are the key drivers of land use change which need to be planned for, and how should they be planned for? What is the role of multifunctional land use strategies in implementing these plans?

 

 

3.3          How might we achieve greater and more effective coordination, integration and delivery of land use policy and management at a central, regional, local and landscape level?

 

 

Farming and land management

3.4          What impacts are changes to farming and agricultural practices, including food production, likely to have on land use in England? What is the role of new technology and changing standards of land management?

 

 

3.5          What impact are the forthcoming environmental land management schemes likely to have on agriculture, biodiversity and wellbeing? What do you see as their merits and disadvantages?

 

 

Nature, landscape and biodiversity

3.6          What do you see as the key threats to nature and biodiversity in England in the short and longer term, and what role should land use policy have in tackling these?

 

 

3.7          What are the merits and challenges of emerging policies such as nature-based solutions (including eco-system and carbon markets), local nature recovery strategies and the biodiversity net gain requirement? Are these policies compatible, and how can we ensure they support one another, and that they deliver effective benefits for nature?

 

 

Environment, climate change, energy and infrastructure

3.8          How will commitments such as the 25-year environment plan and the net zero target require changes to land use in England, and what other impacts might these changes have?

 

 

Land use planning

3.9          What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of the existing land use planning system and associated frameworks in England? How effectively does the system manage competing demands on land, including the Government’s housing and development objectives? What would be the merits of introducing a formal spatial planning framework or frameworks, and how might it be implemented?

 

 

3.10    What lessons may be learned from land use planning frameworks in the devolved nations and abroad, and how might these lessons apply to England?

 

 

Conclusion

3.11    Which organisations would be best placed to plan and decide on the allocation of land for the various competing agendas for land use in England, and how should they set about doing so?

 

 

Jemima Cooper

Institute of Chartered Foresters

April 2022

 

 

 

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[1] https://www.charteredforesters.org/forestry-skills-crisis-puts-climate-targets-at-risk

[2] https://www.lantra.co.uk/sites/default/files/2021-08/Forestry%20Workforce%20Research%20Final%20Report%2013.08.21.pdf

[3] https://rfs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/woodland-creation-opportunities-and-barriers-020620-embargo-3-june.pdf

[4] https://planthealthy.org.uk/assets/downloads/action-plan-for-climate-change-adaptation.pdf

[5] https://www.confor.org.uk/media/247794/confor-biodiversity-forestry-report.pdf

[6] https://www.soilassociation.org/causes-campaigns/agroforestry/what-is-agroforestry/

[7] https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-environment-policy/consultation-on-environmental-targets/ page 27