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The National Forest Wins Strong Endorsement in Government Review

Thursday, 21st November 2013

The National Forest Company (NFC), a non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) supported by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has received ringing endorsement in a highly positive government review, published on Thursday 21 November.

Like every NDPB the National Forest Company is subject to a rigorous Triennial Review: every three years government asks whether the body should continue and, if so, in what form and with what model of organisation and funding, to ensure effective and value-for-money use of the grant it receives.

The report declares that The National Forest “will ultimately deliver economic growth, more resilient ecosystems, the restoration of old mining areas, a market for wood products, a new visitor destination, climate change adaptation and mitigation and improved health, quality of life and social cohesion”.

The four month review found that the NFC’s work is effective in meeting national policy on forestry, which includes contributing to economic growth and creating a woodland culture. Government policy is to protect, improve and expand forestry in England and the review states that the “NFC is highly valued for its record of delivering government priorities” whilst is it also “well respected by its partners”.

The review recommends that the NFC should continue the work of creating The National Forest, through a renewed vision for the next ten years. It supports the exploration underway by NFC and its sister charity, the National Forest Charitable Trust, towards charitable status for the body which leads the Forest into the future.

The report is recognition of the success of the NFC in the creation of The National Forest across 200 square miles of the English Midlands. Since the early 1990s the initial vision, to create forestry near where people live and work, with quantifiable social, economic and environmental benefits, has been shaped and delivered by a dedicated team with a reliable income stream and strong relationships with local communities, partner organisations, local and national businesses and committed individuals. 

Its brand is adopted by businesses and other organisations and it is increasingly recognised as a tourism destination. Hundreds of woodlands, largely owned privately, now shape the landscape of The National Forest and the NFC is embarking on one of the most ambitious woodland management programmes ever, to ensure their beauty, public enjoyment and economic value into the future.

Catherine Graham-Harrison, NFC Chair, said: “The creation of The National Forest is a marvellous mix of steady commitment over time and inspirational action. Since the early 1990s we have used passion and practical persuasion to bring landowners, local communities, businesses and individuals on board to help us create the Forest. 

“A relatively rare synergy between national policy, local aspiration and effective delivery, sustained over time, continues to be a potent force for creating something of lasting value. I would commend the approach whenever we are attempting to bring about sustainable change for our land, communities and economies.

“There is still much to be done to realise the full potential of the bold, imaginative project which is The National Forest. Whilst we know that budgets will be very tight for the foreseeable future, we will not only survive but thrive through innovation and effective adaptation, grateful for core governmental support, other funding and local engagement, which enable the continuing transforming of the landscape and people’s lives.”

See the Written Ministerial Statement here: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/November-2013/21%20November/5-DEFRA-NationalForestCompany.pdf

 

See the Triennial Review of the National Forest Company here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/260307/pb14051-nfc-triennial-rev-2013.pdf