South Yorkshire Forest Partnership calls for continued holistic approach to forestry in post Objective 1 economy
February 20, 2008
The message that came from an event to celebration South Yorkshire’s Objective 1 Forestry Resources Grant (FRG) scheme was a resounding call to action; the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership who managed the £5million programme called on local authorities, regeneration agencies, landowners, communities and businesses to collectively seek ways to build on the scheme’s environmental and economic achievements in a post Objective 1 South Yorkshire.
Speakers, including Mike Smith, Head of Sustainable Development for Yorkshire Forward and Sheffield City Council Woodland Manager, Nick Sellwood, underlined the importance of forestry in the context of the regional economy, and the importance of continuing to support programmes like FRG, which not only distribute money, but attract significant private investment.
Since 2001 the programme has seen a million trees planted, 450 hectares of new forest established, brought 2000 hectares of woodland brought back into good management and supported 56 local timber related businesses. The holistic approach was emphasised by Krys Craik, FRG project manager who commented:
“A revitalised woodland and forestry sector has a key part to play in meeting the challenges of climate change, the development of renewable energy and wood-based businesses and promoting attractive landscapes which serve the needs of local communities.
The FRG programme has provided us with different ways to achieve this, creating a strong link between woodland management, local timber contractors and wood users. The programme has been a great success, and, thanks to our community engagement activity, the general public now have a much more positive attitude to their local woodland. Through organised events and education projects, we have seen an increased appreciation and use of their woods, for both recreation and education purposes.
The FRG programme has proved that woodland management works, and has made a real impact on South Yorkshire’s economy and environment. We are now looking at alternative funding streams and partnership working to help us continue the work of the programme, to achieve further sustainable growth for South Yorkshire’s woodland and wood-based industries.”
Economically strategic sites that have been transformed through the FRG scheme include Manvers Main Colliery Tip in Rotherham (now known as Brookfields Park) and New Park Springs Colliery Tip at Grimethorpe. The South Yorkshire Forest Partnership has identified 29 similar brownfield sites that urgently need similar investment.