STUART Goodall, CEO of Confor, has given his views on the challenges the industry faces as it looks to move towards the 'recovery' phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic steps taken by governments in response to it are unprecedented. Not surprising then that there isn’t a clear roadmap for exiting lockdown or facilitating recovery from a cliff-edge drop in economic activity," Mr Goodall wrote in a blog post on Confor's COVID-19 hub.

Mr Goodall went on to acknowledge that the signs of what to come are beginning to appear - albeit slowly.

He wrote: "There will be an easing of lockdown but governments don’t know how different actions will impact on the rate of spread of the virus. Therefore, they will want to maintain the public’s readiness to tighten restrictions again if reported cases do rise rapidly.

"Differences in approach across the four countries will likely continue. The UK Government has said it wants business (except the hospitality and leisure sector) to continue, but Wales and Scotland have adopted tougher lines of only 'essential’ activity continuing, resulting in a grey area between legislation/guidance and enforcement by police and peer pressure.

"From what I’ve picked up, the UK Government is looking at providing protocols and guidance for going back to work that reflect types of activity rather than sectors. For example, outdoor working or manufacturing or office work. This recognises the fact that many businesses and sectors incorporate different types of activity which carry different levels of risk and therefore require different safeguards.

"Under this model, sectors wouldn’t necessarily be given a ‘green light’ to restart, more that individual businesses would need to reassure themselves, and their staff and customers, that they can and are operating safely. The expectation is that if a business can’t do that, then staff won’t return to work, or continue to work, and customers will stay away – meaning it’s in the interests of the business to get it right.

"Whatever guidance or green lights do emerge in the coming weeks, it’s important that businesses are given as much certainty as possible, not least in our sector where market activity is picking up."

Mr Goodall's full post is available here.

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year - or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link:

Thanks – and stay safe.