In March 2011 Government invited an independent panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, to advise on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England.
The panel reported to Government in July 2012 and the origin of ‘Grown in Britain’ came from this response.
As Government developed its response it discussed the potential creation and implementation of a ‘Wood Industry Action Plan’ with the sector. These discussions revealed strong support for an industry-led, market-driven plan to boost levels of woodland management and creation via demand for British grown timber.
It was felt that to deliver long lasting results the plan should extend back from the wood product consumer to the forest floor, and seek to change the way in which wood is presented to, and bought by, end users. To succeed, the plan must stimulate change well beyond the forest and wood processing elements of the supply chain and must embrace contributions from a much wider cross section of business and society.
Following further discussions with the wider wood products supply chain, including retailers and infrastructure projects, Dr Peter Bonfield, OBE, Chief Executive of the Building Research Establishment, and Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor presented their vision for the ‘Grown in Britain’ programme to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Defra.
This approach was endorsed by the Secretary of State, who invited Dr. Bonfield to further develop this work in January 2013.
Grown in Britain has cross Government support and the potential to make a lasting difference to forestry in Britain. As a movement it has three aims. These are to:
1. Create a new and stronger market ‘pull’ for the array of products derived from our forests and woodlands.
2. Develop private sector funding that supports investment in nature and natural capital including the planting and management of forests and woodlands through funding from corporates as part of their corporate social responsibility
3. Connect together and harness the positive energy and feelings towards our forests and woodlands that many in our society share to create a strong ‘wood culture’. A wood culture that captures personal health and fitness, well-being, community and encourages use of more wood and forest products.
As a result, Dr. Bonfield has prepared his report which will officially launch Grown in Britain when it is presented to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Defra in the House of Lords on Tuesday 15 October 2013.
Grown in Britain has really captured the imagination; it unites under one umbrella our largest sawmills and our greenwood workers, mountain bikers and ramblers, our charcoal producers and our major contractors, our Wildlife Trusts and those concerned with the nation’s health and wellbeing. It is rebuilding the economic engine of our forests.
We are well poised to realise even greater social, economic and environmental benefits from our own woodlands and forests and also build our wood culture which is good for all wood products and good for Britain.