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20 July 2012
The Timber Pallet & Packaging Confederation (TIMCON) says the targets to expand English woodland suggested by the Independent Panel on Forestry's report should be brought further forward.
The Defra-commissioned report, which was published last week, recommends that English forest cover should be increased from 10 per cent of total land area to 15 per cent by 2060 - a goal TIMCON believes could be achieved sooner.
John Dye, TIMCON president, said: "The Independent Panel on Forestry has produced an excellent report, which details the vital role that our domestic woodland has to play, from the point of view of the UK economy, leisure activities and care for the environment, to name just three.
"We fully endorse the report's recommendation of re-assessing the benefits of English forests and expanding the amount of planted area significantly. This sets the scene well for preserving essential supplies of timber for manufacturing and raising the profile of forestry, which is perhaps the country's most environmentally friendly industry.
"However, we believe strongly that the commendable objective of increasing woodland cover to 15 per cent can be more ambitious, with a deadline set sooner than 2060."
TIMCON is also appealing to private owners of forest land to increase the amount of commercial planting made available to industry. "Some 82 per cent of English forest land is privately-owned," said Dye. "We therefore see private landowners playing an important part to play in preserving this important resource and ensuring that adequate and sustainable supplies of timber remain available to manufacturing into the future."
He concluded: "TIMCON collaborated with the UK's other timber associations to make clear recommendations to the panel, most of which have been taken on board. This is an invaluable report, which illustrates the substantial economic and environmental benefits of protecting and expanding English forests. It's also an important first step towards safeguarding supplies of timber to manufacturing."