Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees (FWACs) advise the Forestry Commission on implementing forestry and related policies in 9 regions.
In 2013, Regional Advisory Committees were re-named as FWACs, but they remain subject to requirements of the Forestry Act for the operation of Regional Advisory Committees. The geographical coverage of Regional Advisory Committees adopted 1 or 2 former English region areas, including London. These regional boundaries have been maintained in the Forestry Commission’s ‘5 areas’ structure, with each area managing 2 FWACs (with the exception of southwest area, which has a single FWAC).
The remit of FWACs is to:
- advocate and champion forestry interests and woodlands partnership-working for woodland resilience and sector development at local level, providing independent insight into local needs and priorities
- provide advice, expertise and challenge on the application of national policies into area and local programmes, and assist in aggregating local priorities into national programmes
- support the government’s interests by developing strong local connections and networks to enhance synergies across the forest and woodland sector, including the public forest estate
- conciliate in disputed applications for grant aid and felling licences, and the approval of forest plans where there’s a sustained objection by a statutory body
The role of FWACs is advisory, not promotional or executive.
The Committees consist of an independent Chair and 11 members appointed by the Forestry Commissioners. The composition of each FWAC is designed to achieve a spread of interests in the region. Members include representatives from 3 chambers of interest:
- Forestry and Agriculture, Landowners and Managers including professional and representative bodies
- Social and Environmental Interests and Education including NGOs and Charities
- Communities, Business and the Economy, National and Local Government bodies
Members are appointed in a personal capacity, whether or not they are nominated by a representative body. Members are expected to be well informed of the interest they represent, but not to act as official representatives of their nominating bodies. The Chairs are consulted on all committee appointments. Members, including the Chairs, are normally invited to serve for 3 years and the service is normally limited to 2 terms. A third term may be served in some circumstances, such as unique and valuable expertise or to help ensure continuity.
Chairs receive payment in return for about 10 days service per annum. All members are entitled to receive travel and subsistence payments.
Meetings and communications
Each Committee normally meets 3 times per year, with scope for occasional additional joint meetings. The Chairs meet with England Forestry Commissioners and senior staff twice a year to discuss matters of particular importance.
FWAC Chairs ensure that matters of concern to forestry in their region are made known to the Forestry Commission, and that the Committee is kept informed of the Commissioners’ policies and the work of the Commission.
Committees and contact information
- Yorkshire and North East
- North West & West Midlands
- East & East Midlands
- South East & London
- South West
The Urban FWAC Network supports Area FWAC members who have an interest in urban forestry. Its role is to champion urban forestry and to share good practice. The Committee meets twice a year, and membership is supplemented by other invited specialists in urban forestry. Find out more about the Urban FWAC Network and urban forestry
Code of conduct
Thedescribes the responsibilities of members in relation to their individual conduct.