WHERE did the time go? Just like that 2022 is almost over and a new year will soon begin. 

But before it does, we thought this would be the perfect chance to take a look back at the stories that made the last 12 months so memorable. 

From 'cowboy tree surgeons' taking on storm-damaged trees, to controversy surrounding changes to contractors' payments, here are our most-read stories from 2022. 

1) Boat of Garten sawmill loses fight to stay open as BSW confirms closure

Forestry Journal: Boat of GartenBoat of Garten (Image: Stock image)

A SCOTTISH sawmill was to close for good despite the efforts of politicians and employees to save it. 

BSW Group confirmed Boat of Garten sawmill, in the Cairngorms National Park, was to cease operations by the end of the year. 

Officials blamed the closure of the site, one of the oldest of the group’s seven sawmills in the UK, on a "global downturn across the industry". 

Read the full story here

2) Workers narrowly escape being hit by 95 mph train in Somerset when removing tree from tracks

Forestry Journal: Forward-facing CCTV image showing the tree just before being struck by the trainForward-facing CCTV image showing the tree just before being struck by the train (Image: CrossCountry Trains)

TWO railway workers removing a tree from a track avoided being hit by a near 100 mph train with just seconds to spare, a report found. 

An investigation by the RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) said the duo was part of a team carrying out de-vegetation work in January on an embankment at Uphill Junction, near to Weston-super-Mare.

During this, a tree of around 165 mm (6.5 inches) in diameter, which had been felled, came down and landed in the Somerset cess. When the pair went to remove it, the tree became trapped on the line. 

Read the full story here

3) Amateur tree surgeons warned to leave felling work to 'highly-skilled professionals'

Forestry Journal:

AMATEUR tree surgeons could put themselves or others at risk by felling storm-damaged trees, authorities said. 

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chiefs warned 'cowboy' arborists from attempting emergency work in the wake of Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, which hit parts of the UK with gale force winds earlier this year. 

At least four people lost their lives in the storms and countless trees were torn down across the country. 

Read the full story here. 

4) Tributes paid after sudden death of much-loved Jas P Wilson employee

Forestry Journal:

TRIBUTES were paid to a much-loved forestry figure who passed away during the APF show. 

Peter Linton lost his life at the age of 43 in September. 

Affectionately known as ‘Ped’, he had worked for Jas P Wilson for many years, and bosses at the firm described him as a "hugely important member" of the team. 

Read the full story here. 

5) Arb Show 2022 to take place during APF making it largest ever UK forestry event

Forestry Journal:

THIS year's ARB Show was to merge with APF 2022 and take place at the Ragley Estate in September, organisers confirmed in January. 

It meant the joint-event was to become the largest forestry and arb showpiece ever held in the UK when thousands of attendees descended on Warwickshire from Thursday 22 until Saturday 24. 

With the ARB Show having last taken place in-person three years ago, organisers, the Arboricultural Association, said 2022's event will "reach beyond its traditional forestry base". 

Read the full story here. 

6) Five operators under 25: The fresh faces at the heart of forestry

Forestry Journal: Five forest machine operators under 25 years old shared their storiesFive forest machine operators under 25 years old shared their stories (Image: FJ)

In an industry where the workforce is skewing older, fresh faces can be hard to find.

Here, five forest machine operators under 25 years old shared their stories – and thoughts on how the sector could do a better job of recruiting and supporting new blood. 

Read the full story here

7) No surprise to see storm brewing over Tilhill's payment change - Forestry Latest News

Forestry Journal:

This was an extract from one of our newsletters. Sign up here to have it delivered straight to your inbox each week. We have left this snippet in the present tense. 

ONE week without any drama. Is that really too much to ask? If events of the last seven or so days are anything to go by, it seems you'd have more luck finding Lord Lucan than enjoying a period of calm in forestry.

This time it's a drastic (and controversial) change to the payment terms of one of the sector's major contractors that has so many up in arms.

Tilhill has confirmed it will bring its system in line with that of parent company BSW Group from August, meaning invoices filed on the first of that month won't be paid until October 5. Currently, contractors are paid on a fortnightly, self-billing basis.

Read the full newsletter extract here. 

8) Newly launched apprenticeship scheme offers 45 paid roles in forestry

Forestry Journal:

UP to 45 apprenticeships were to be created in forestry in a bid to encourage more people into the industry and plug the sector's skills shortage. 

The newly launched Development Woodland Officer programme would aim to grow, upskill, and diversify the sector's workforce, offering on-the-job training and the chance to gain Chartered Forester status. 

Marking the first time that a degree-level forestry apprenticeship had been offered in the UK, the scheme was jointly led by the Forestry Commission, the University of Cumbria and the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF). 

Read the full story here. 

9) What are the new DVLA rules on towing trailers?

Forestry Journal:

NEW towing regulations came into effect in England, Scotland and Wales, which allowed all drivers to tow a larger trailer regardless of when they passed their test. 

The government confirmed those who received their licence after 1 January 1997 can now use a trailer up to 3,500 kg without having to sit an additional exam. 

Previously, only drivers who had passed before that date could drive a vehicle and trailer combination, up to 8,250 kg maximum authorised mass (MAM), by default. They were also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750 kg MAM. 

Read the full story here. 

10) Tilhill defends change to forestry contractors' payment terms

Forestry Journal: Stock image used for illustrative purposes only Stock image used for illustrative purposes only

ONE of the UK's largest forestry groups defended its 'controversial' decision to change its payment system. 

Tilhill confirmed it would bring its method in line with that of parent company BSW Group from August, meaning invoices filed on the first of that month wouldn't be paid until October 5. Previously, contractors were paid on a fortnightly, self-billing basis. 

It's a move that was branded as "cruel" by the Forestry Contracting Association (FCA), which said workers were already struggling to cope with the impact of rising prices and the cost of living crisis. 

Read the full story here.