Up to 1,000 jobs could be created by commission

Hexham MP Guy Opperman.
Hexham MP Guy Opperman.

Around 1,000 jobs could be created by the Forestry Commission in the north of England, it has been announced.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, welcomed the unveiling of a blueprint for jobs and economic growth which took place at an event at Egger in Hexham.

Roots to Prosperity is a new strategy and action plan which proposes investment of around £23million to unlock in excess of 1,000 jobs and deliver low-carbon growth and sustainable economic development across rural and urban communities.

Elizabeth Truss said:“Our forests are cherished for the enjoyment they bring us, and for the crucial role they play in supporting Britain’s economic prosperity and environment. It’s great to see different interests working together to unlock the potential of our forests and woodlands.”

MP Guy Opperman, who officiated at the local launch of the plan, said: “I am proud that my constituency lies at the epicentre of England’s wood producing and processing sector and that it has such a marvellous story of growth and investment to tell.

“I’m here today because rural jobs really matter, and forestry is a massive provider of those jobs. These employment opportunities are absolutely vital.

“We also need more trees to be planted. Although we have six major forests in my constituency, I wonder where the next one will be planted.

“I have seen for myself the world-class panel-board manufacturing facility that Egger have created; this is a key facet of the wood industry in the north, but so are the hundreds of small businesses involved in harvesting, haulage and woodland management work, and I wish the whole sector well in its drive for further growth.”

Ian Gambles, Forestry Commission England director, said: “This is a great example of how the whole Forestry Commission, working together and playing to our strengths, can support and enable sector growth.