I’ve added a page over on the Hutters.uk website about Woodland Hutting – a proposal to extend the rival of hutting that has started in Scotland across the whole of Britain. Until the 1940s we had the freedom to build weekend and holiday huts on our own or rented land. How can we get that back, with appropriate environmental safeguards?
I’ve been writing a response to this year’s England Tree Strategy Consultation. This is the essentially the final draft, which I will submit before the deadline on the 11th: TreeStrategy2020Response.pdf
I focus on three problems with the planning system and the the new firewood regulations:
- Consistent national guidelines for the minimum size of sheds, barns etc which will be viewed as reasonably necessary for forestry.
- Processing wood into finished products should be classed within the definition of forestry, when using wood from the same woodland.
- Woodland-based education should be classed as forestry.
- The legal requirement to join the Woodsure auditing scheme at the cost of hundreds of pounds a year will wipe out any profit for many small woodland owners.
Woodfuel has been in the news the last few days following the government’s announcement about restrictions on selling firewood to domestic users in England. What they’re trying to do is worthwhile, but the proposals raise some issues for owners of small woodlands. I believe there need to be exemptions for people selling less than about 50 cubic metres of firewood per year. Otherwise the regulations will inhibit small woodlands’ role in fighting climate change and attempts to bring half of England’s native woodlands back into management.
As well as the usual news roundup, letters, and book reviews, the feature articles include:
- Carbon capture in wood
- Identifying signs of mammals
- The first in a series of articles on woodland planning permission and other controls
- Buying and selling woods
- 100 years of the Forestry Commission
- The Oliver Rackham archive of books and papers
- Weaving a willow basket
- One member’s wood, planted by them in 1995
- Blue tits in woodland
I was really pleased to see the planning article, which again brought up some of the themes of the Long Tail essay. I’m looking forward to the next article in the series, on the details of the planning system (the bare bones of which are in the Planning Law page on this site.)
I’ve been writing about woodland planning permission issues for several years now, first in the context of hutting. Questions about the topic come up frequently in woodland discussion groups (“Can I put up a shed?” etc.) Today I’ve published “Woodland planning law” as a guide to the various pieces of legislation. This is enough to work with, but in the future I plan to write some guides or FAQs which give people the bottom line and link to “Woodland planning law” for the gory details.
An expanded version of my post from January, The Long Tail of Forestry, has just appeared in the Small Woods Association’s “Smallwoods” magazine! (Spring 2018 edition)