Readers have their say. 

DEAR editor,

I read with interest the letter of complaint from the Forestry Contracting Association (FCA) regarding the Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA) in your September issue (‘A decade of discord’, FJ 337).

Whilst I cannot determine at this distance where the truth lies, the response to the complaint is inadequate because it fails to address any of the particulars of the complaint.

READ MORE: FCA publishes open letter to ask what FISA has given the forestry industry

The FISA response is not therefore a response to the letter of complaint. It is simply a statement of what FISA considers FISA has achieved. 

The FCA might like to re-submit its complaint to the board of FISA and explain that it expects a proper response addressing what are serious allegations. If such a response if not forthcoming, and/or it becomes apparent that the board has not behaved in accordance with the Articles of Association (available on FISA’s website and from Companies House) then the FCA should take legal advice from suitably qualified company lawyers.

It seems to me that the board of FISA should appreciate that without the support of the FCA it would be robbed of much of its purpose.

Simon Duncan,
Doctor of Philosophy in Law Student – Exploring the Limits of Insolvency Set-off
Senior Hulme Scholar
Brasenose College
Oxford Law Faculty

Dear editor,

Surely, you didn’t really believe the government’s policy statement about planting 30,000 ha per year for the next 25 years of new woodland/forest, did you?

The recently published statistics clearly spell out the dire situation that our industry is in.

I note in your letter from the editor in the August issue (FJ 336) that Stuart Goodall is quoted as saying, “less rhetoric, more trees in the ground please new Prime Minister”.

I would bet Mr Goodall £100 that nothing will change. The recently published stats speak for themselves.

Forestry Journal:  Stuart Goodall Stuart Goodall

However, who dreamt up the figure of 30,000 ha per year for 25 years in the first place?

I suggest that it would be a far better idea for the leading lights in our industry to put forward a realistic proposal for what could reasonably be achieved, on an ongoing basis.

Not this silly, political pie-in-the sky stuff.

Andy Chalmers,
Melcourt Industries, Gloucestershire
P.S. What happened to the ‘Tree Tsar’?

Dear editor,

Annie Oakley rode into town and Marshall George ‘got the bullet’. Badgers were relieved, at least those still breathing after, 176,000 having already been despatched by George and his deputies. Saloon bar drinkers said he would have gone anyway because Mrs Johnson thought DEFRA was placing too much emphasis on farmers and giving insufficient consideration to ‘bunny huggers’. What caused Annie to get her gun was George questioning her commitment to animal welfare in post-Brexit trade deals.

Al the cop-man survived, despite telling the national press how he would ‘cop-out’ if the new Prime Minister dumped the net-zero pledge. However, his department hasn’t fared so well, having been slashed by a third early this year, soon after COP-26. A big splash and bash for Boris at COP-26 in Glasgow, then kick the ‘green crap’ into the long, brown grass. Al sits on a decidedly fragile majority in his Reading West constituency and saloon bar gossip says he is lined up for a big ‘green job’ with one of the international NGOs. 

DEFRA is preoccupied with all that brown stuff on the beaches, so I can’t see many trees being planted in the near future. And they should keep an eye on those still standing after a leading hardware retailer reported a 30 per cent increase in chainsaw sales to the public in August in response to a quest for firewood to avoid high gas and electricity bills this winter.

You can’t fault the forestry industry’s optimism in hoping the new boy in charge at DEFRA is going to roll up his sleeves and get down to planting all those trees that never seem to go into the ground. Ranil Jayawardena is the eighth person to hold the post of environment secretary in the last 10 years. Each time there is a change at the top, hope springs eternal for tree planting and woodland creation. It reminds me of tobacco farmers in Malawi who stand outside the tobacco auction doors every year, having been told the price of their tobacco leaf will rise, only to see it fall even further. 

Forestry Journal: Ranil JayawardenaRanil Jayawardena (Image: PA)

Boris’s battle cry of ‘trees on the skyline’ has already been replaced with ‘turds on the tideline’ and the new minister soon made it plain where priorities lay. Within hours of taking office he was telling the national press how water company chiefs had been given two weeks to set out “significant improvements” to prevent sewage being dumped in open water. Ongoing sewage dumping is being blamed on huge cuts to the Environment Agency’s budget between 2014 and 2016. Guess who was environment secretary for that period of time!

So how is tree planting and woodland creation as part and parcel of the green agenda likely to fare under the new boy at DEFRA? Some might say Ranil Jayawardena’s record speaks for itself. According to the website They Work for You, he has consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change – 18 times in all since 2015.
Anyone heard from Zac and Ben the conservation men?

Dr Terry Mabbett