The National Forest Company

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The National Forest Company's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The National Forest Company is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.nationalforest.org

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | THE NATIONAL FOREST COMPANY
Chief Executive John Everitt
Tree planting in the
National Forest
The National Forest Company leads the creation of the
National Forest, one of the most ambitious and remarkable
environmental projects in the UK. Established as an arm’s
length body of the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs in 1995, the NFC has driven the transformation of
200 square miles of the Midlands, spanning parts of Derbyshire,
Leicestershire and Staffordshire. CEO John Everitt explains how
this former industrial area has turned from black to green.
With its central location, within 90 minutes’ drive of some ten million people, as
well as being home to around 220,000 residents, the National Forest is an exemplar
of environmentally led regeneration, using trees as a catalyst for change. To date,
nearly nine million have been planted, linking the ancient forests of Needwood
and Charnwood and increasing forest cover from 6 per cent to 21 per cent – that’s
more than twice the national average.
The importance of the natural environment
As an organisation, we believe that trees really can make a difference to the
environment, communities and the economy. We are a small enabling body
that works in partnership with private, public, voluntary and community sectors
to deliver real change. Our work involves planting and managing woodlands to
create a connected forest, making woodlands accessible to enable people to use
and enjoy them, and supporting new business opportunities that are linked to
woodlands. The world is waking up to the benefits that trees can provide and we
are leading the way.
FACTS ABOUT
THE NATIONAL FOREST
COMPANY
»Chief Executive: John Everitt
»Established in 1995
»Based in the heart of
the National Forest, near
Swadlincote
»Services: Reforestation and
environment management
»No. of employees: 25
»Gained charitable status in
2016 and now has a turnover
of £3.5 million
The National Forest
Company
17THE NATIONAL FOREST COMPANY |
ENVIRONMENT, FOOD & RURAL AFFAIRS
We operate our own tailored grant
schemes that target forest creation
with landowners, and have drawn
up some of the most innovative
planning policies in the country that
ensure new housing, industrial or
minerals developments also provide
a percentage of land for forest
creation. The success of this is clearly
demonstrated by the fact that we are
still delivering more than 100 hectares
of new forest habitat each year at
a time when woodland creation is
struggling nationally. This success
extends to woodland management
where we have increased the
percentage of our woodlands in active
management from 40 per cent to 75
per cent, compared to around 58 per
cent nationally, helping woodland
businesses to thrive.
Moreover, we believe that the natural
environment should bring benefits
to everyone. We have secured
public access in 80 per cent of new
woodlands, including the creation
of the 75-mile National Forest Way.
These changes have enabled the
forest to become an emerging visitor
destination, something unthinkable
years ago, with 8.9 million visitors
annually and more than 5,000 tourism-
related jobs.
In 2016 we became a charity, taking
on a new role as an innovative public
body that can generate income,
operate more commercially and
increase its public benefit. This can
be seen through our groundbreaking
work with primary schools to promote
regular outdoor learning for every
school child in the National Forest, an
expansion of volunteering to manage
woodlands and improve the wellbeing
of communities, and conservation
Community woodland
management
Opencast site, 2000
We believe that
the natural
environment
should bring
benefits to
everyone
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
17THE NATIONAL FOREST COMPANY |
ENVIRONMENT, FOOD & RURAL AFFAIRS
We operate our own tailored grant
schemes that target forest creation
with landowners, and have drawn
up some of the most innovative
planning policies in the country that
ensure new housing, industrial or
minerals developments also provide
a percentage of land for forest
creation. The success of this is clearly
demonstrated by the fact that we are
still delivering more than 100 hectares
of new forest habitat each year at
a time when woodland creation is
struggling nationally. This success
extends to woodland management
where we have increased the
percentage of our woodlands in active
management from 40 per cent to 75
per cent, compared to around 58 per
cent nationally, helping woodland
businesses to thrive.
Moreover, we believe that the natural
environment should bring benefits
to everyone. We have secured
public access in 80 per cent of new
woodlands, including the creation
of the 75-mile National Forest Way.
These changes have enabled the
forest to become an emerging visitor
destination, something unthinkable
years ago, with 8.9 million visitors
annually and more than 5,000 tourism-
related jobs.
In 2016 we became a charity, taking
on a new role as an innovative public
body that can generate income,
operate more commercially and
increase its public benefit. This can
be seen through our groundbreaking
work with primary schools to promote
regular outdoor learning for every
school child in the National Forest, an
expansion of volunteering to manage
woodlands and improve the wellbeing
of communities, and conservation
Community woodland
management
Opencast site, 2000
We believe that
the natural
environment
should bring
benefits to
everyone
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
18 | THE NATIONAL FOREST COMPANY
work at a landscape scale in both the
heart of the forest andCharnwood.
As a success story for Defra, the NFC
operates on the national stage, hosting
research programmes, demonstrating
best practice and trialling new
ventures. In 2018 we launched the
National Forest festival, Timber,
winning the best new festival at the UK
Festival Awards and curating a unique
event that celebrates woods and trees
through arts, music and ideas. We are
also part of international networks
such as the Queen’s Commonwealth
Canopy, helping to shape global policy
and ambition to protect and restore
ourforests.
The Environment Plan
In this context, the government’s new
25-year Environment Plan represents a
welcome and forward-looking strategy
that highlights many opportunities
for the future. This includes the
appointment of our Chair, Sir William
Worsley, as the new tree champion,
a commitment to “net gain” for
biodiversity through the planning
system, and the new Environmental
Land Management Scheme to help
accelerate funding for public goods
like tree planting.
We will need all these measures to
deliver positively if we are to realise
the benefits to “natural capital” that
trees can bring. The plan will also be a
strong test for the country’s aspirations
for “clean” growth, to ensure that only
growth that enhances the environment
and promotes community wellbeing
issupported.
As we look forward, we are all
challenged by the urgency of a
changing climate. We believe that the
National Forest provides a positive
test bed, a “greenprint”, for how
we can respond in a real place in
real time. We have shown how you
can transform a landscape within
a generation, and our next step is
to demonstrate as rapid a shift to
sustainable living, so that we are able
to adapt to and mitigate the impacts
of climate change. This will be a bold
aspiration for the next 25 years both
within the National Forest and beyond
our boundaries. Like a forest, our
message is simple: it is time to think
long term but act now.
Our message
is simple: it is
time to think
long term but
act now
Restored opencast, 2013

www.nationalforest.org

This article was sponsored by The National Forest Company. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development