New man takes on top forestry role

Kielder Forest in autumn
Kielder Forest in autumn
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The Forestry Commission has announced the new man in charge for the North England district, which includes Northumberland.

James Simpson, who has worked for the Forestry Commission before in various roles, takes up his post in November and will be responsible for the public forest estate in Northumberland, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Lancashire.

James said: “I am really excited about taking on the North England job; it’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of a great team and contribute to a bright future for England’s public forest estate.”

Simon Hodgson, chief executive for Forest Enterprise England, who has overall responsibility for the public forest estate across the country, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to find a successor to Graham Gill, the current forest management director, quickly so that we can have a smooth transition for this very important role nationally and locally.

“The North England district is important to people and the environment while supporting the local economy by boosting tourism and creating jobs. It includes the award-winning Kielder Forest, England’s largest timber producing forest; Grizedale, which is internationally renowned for its outdoor sculptures; Whinlatter, England’s only mountain forest and Hamsterley, County Durham’s largest forest.

“I congratulate James, who has a wealth of experience, and I wish Graham all the best for his retirement. Graham has undoubtedly put Kielder Water and Forest Park on the map as one of the country’s finest tourist destinations and successfully managed the vital contribution of the forests in northern England to the rural economy.”