AN industry blueprint for a new National Wood Strategy for England will be presented at Confor’s annual policy conference in London.

After outlining the plan for developing the Strategy last year, Tom Barnes of Vastern Timber will share the findings of the report in December after extensive consultation across the industry and beyond.

UK Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison, who has taken a keen interest in both the Strategy and a Sector Deal for the forestry industry, will also speak at the conference on the UK Government’s enthusiasm to drive up productive planting, use more home-grown wood in construction and secure a sustainable future timber resource.

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This year’s event is called Green Growth: Why Wood is the Missing Low-Carbon Link and will take place once more at the QEII Centre at Westminster.

The Labour Party has been invited to provide a senior spokesperson to outline how forestry and wood fits into its Green Prosperity agenda, while Dr Niki Rust will highlight the Climate Change Committee’s constant focus on the role of wood in achieving net zero.

Forestry Journal: Trudy Harrison will be among the speakers at the eventTrudy Harrison will be among the speakers at the event (Image: FJ/Stock)

Bella Murfin, Defra’s co-lead on Trees, will respond to the presentation on the National Wood Strategy, while a session including Sam Hart from BE:ST (Built Environment, Sustainable Transformation) and circular economy expert Dr Eilidh Forster will make the detailed case for a greater use of wood and a higher policy profile for forestry and wood in party manifestos for the next election.

The final panel of the day will feature a range of industry speakers to set out the industry’s big ambitions and the specific actions needed from the UK Government to realise those ambitions.

Stuart Goodall, Confor chief executive, said: “We have had two reports by cross-party parliamentary committees at Westminster making it clear that Government needs to pursue policies that deliver a long-term and sustainable future timber supply in the UK. We cannot simply keep go on importing more and more of the wood we use.

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“By doing this, we can rise to our ambitions to create the low-carbon economy of the future and help meet the UK’s environmental ambitions. The National Wood Strategy and a Sector Deal are crucial building blocks in ensuring that wood is at the heart of that low-carbon future."

The conference is sponsored by Scottish Woodlands, Tilhill and Gresham House