HAPPY new year!

I often use this column to share my own thoughts about the forestry headlines of the day. For this, the first issue of 2023, I’d like to do something a little different and share some of the comments we’ve had from readers, reacting to recent stories on our Facebook page.

READ MORE: Forestry minister wants to 'take chainsaw' to tree-planting time

Comments such as these, reacting to the first major statement from new forestry minister Trudy Harrison, who said she wanted to “take a chainsaw” to tree-planting delays: “First take a chainsaw to FLS, second take a chainsaw to NRW, third take a chainsaw to FE. The civil-service forestry bodies in the UK are out of control and without focus. There will be no improvement without a major shake-up.”

“Standard waffle from a politician with no or minimal action and even less financial backing.”

“Scrap FLS and SF and let us get on and do our job.”

How about the news of a new legally binding target to increase woodland cover in England by two per cent by 2050?

“More empty twaddle as per usual.”

“They can’t even fulfil today’s targets never mind 2050!!! More worthless chat and still NO ACTION!”

And then there was the news of a new 40-year strategy for forestry in England:
“We don’t need another strategy document. Confor need to be taking the FC to task for their abject failure to deliver woodland creation in England. Unless there is a significant change in direction at DEFRA and the FC, any strategy document will be another meaningless waste of time.”

READ MORE: Hostility toward commercial forestry seems to be growing

Last month saw a flurry of political pronouncements about the future of forestry in the UK, but was anyone impressed? What we need is bold, decisive action. Will 2023 deliver?

We can only hope.