Forestry Commission Coronavirus Update

Forestry Commission Coronavirus Update

We felt that now was a good time to update you all on our plans for continuing our business during these uncertain and changing times.

19 March 2020

We felt that now was a good time to update you all on our plans for continuing our business during these uncertain and changing times. We have followed government advice and in order to help slow the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 we have asked all of our staff who can work from home to do so.

This will mean that whilst our offices remain open they will only have essential staff to maintain business critical systems and will not all have staff on site each working day.

Working hard to continue our services

We are working with RPA and other organisations in the Defra group to assess the impact that COVID-19 will have on the services provided to foresters, land managers, farmers and rural businesses, as well as on tree planting and other schemes. We are working through this as fast as we can. We all appreciate the impact this is having and are working hard to provide the best support and guidance we can.

We are sharing information with the Defra group organisations we work closely alongside on how we are planning to manage and adapt our customer service involving site visits and processing centres.

Site Visits

New guidance issued
We have issued guidance on conducting site visits to all our field staff. At present woodland officers are currently still conducting site visits, and plant health teams will be working on sites where the risk is considered minimal and the work is high priority. We have asked staff to follow the guidance on social distancing and follow hygiene rules strictly.

Our teams will let you know how they would like to run any field visits to keep you both safe. If you have a site visit booked with a member of our staff please help us by understanding we are asking staff:

not to share a vehicle
not to shake hands
use hand sanitiser before and after meetings where possible
to stand 2 metres away from others on the site visit if leaving their vehicle

How can you help us?

Whilst we work on how we maintain our current business there are some things you can do to help us to help you:

please use Felling Licence Online to apply for Felling Licences – your application can start to be processed immediately. We have reduced staff in our offices therefore post will take longer to be dealt with
if you need to contact our Admin Hubs please use the email addresses as phones will not be manned. You can find the correct Admin Hub to contact on our GOV.UK contact page.

Bucks Horn Oak – adminhub.buckshornoak@forestrycommission.gov.uk
Bullers Hill – adminhub.bullershill@forestrycommission.gov.uk

If you need to contact our Incentives Development team about a Woodland Carbon Fund, Woodland Creation Planning Grant, Urban Tree Challenge Fund or HS2 Woodland Fund grant application, agreement or claim, please use email in the first instance as phone contact cannot be guaranteed at the moment. The email addresses are:

Woodland Carbon Fund – wcf@forestrycommission.gov.uk
Woodland Creation Planning Grant – wcpg@forestrycommission.gov.uk
Urban Tree Challenge Fund – utcf@forestrycommission.gov.uk
HS2 Woodland Fund – hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk

As this situation is rapidly changing we may need to reassess our current aim to continue with business as usual where possible and start to prioritise work. We will look to do this as soon as it becomes necessary and we will be in touch to let you know how it might impact on our customers.

Industry response

We have welcomed the response of the sector to work with us to get through this, to help connect to business-related and sector information, and to understand the implications. Thank you for your support and understanding at this time.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Email: GRNationalTeam@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Website: http://www.gov.uk/forestrycommission

Forestry Commission 620 Bristol Business Coldharbour Lane Bristol, BS16 1EJ United Kingdom

 

All Coronavirus Articles

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ealert-20-march-2020-covid-19-update