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National and Local Support: A Great Year for The National Forest Company Annual Report for 2013-14 published

Wednesday, 11th June 2014

The National Forest Company (NFC) has published its Annual Report for 2013-14, a year in which the company received a great vote of confidence from central government and now stands at the start of a new ten-year strategy for the creation and development of The National Forest.

The NFC is funded by Defra to facilitate the creation of The National Forest, and in 2013 – 2014 underwent its Central Government Triennial Review. This asked whether the function of the National Forest Company, to lead the creation of a multipurpose forest for the nation, was still required, and, if so, whether the NFC was still suitable to perform that function. To both questions the answer was yes. Both local and national partners endorsed the need for the work to continue and this was central in the extremely positive Government assessment. 

Catherine Graham-Harrison, NFC Chair, said:  'The Triennial Review gave the company a national vote of confidence in the Forest as one of the country’s most ambitious forestry, landscape and regeneration projects. It provides a strong platform from which we launch our next ten-year strategy later this month.'

She continued: 'Our aim for the next decade is simple and compelling: to make the most of the investment to date, in every way, and to secure The National Forest for future generations.'

The Report highlights the extensive work undertaken with volunteers and County Council partners in preparing the route of the new long distance footpath, the National Forest Way, which was successfully launched in May this year.

Forest creation continued to be strong at 149ha, with over 100,000 trees being planted in the 2013-14 planting season including three substantial Changing Landscape Schemes.

A new Woodland Management Programme is in place, aiming to meet national targets for high quality management of woodlands between now and 2018.

The year has seen the start of the development year of a major Heritage Lottery Fund programme in the Heart of the Forest. It has been greeted with local enthusiasm for making the most of the woodland sites, including community woodfuel projects.

Business sponsorship is gradually diversifying from tree planting to other projects, reflecting the Forest’s growth and development.

As well as enjoying significant local support, The National Forest is a national exemplar of multipurpose forestry and contributes to national policy, thinking and practice.  During 2013-14, the Forest worked with the Future Trees Trust and Grown in Britain – enabling more corporates to contribute to forestry. VisitEngland, the national body for tourism, this year promoted The National Forest as a developing destination alongside other tourism areas which focus on the outdoors.

The National Forest Company Annual Report 2013-14 can be viewed online here