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Sir William Worsley to become new Forestry Commission Chair

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An image of Sir William Worsley in a field

On Monday 3 February we announced that the Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers has confirmed Sir William Worsley as the new Chair of the Forestry Commission.

The announcement comes as Sir Harry Studholme’s time as Forestry Commission Chair ends after seven years in post.

The new appointment has received positive coverage across regional and trade outlets including The Yorkshire Post (p6), Scarborough News, Agriland, Horticulture Week, Timber Media, Parliament Today and The Government Says. Stakeholders including the Chief Plant Health Officer Nicola Spence, Royal Forestry Society, and Rare Breeds Survival Trust, have also taken to social media to congratulate Sir William on his new role.

Sir William will step down as the government’s Tree Champion, a position he has held since June 2018, when he takes on his new role.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

With his great expertise in forestry and passion for nature and trees, Sir William will play a pivotal role in leading the Forestry Commission at a critical time as it moves into its second century.

Tree planting will play a crucial part in the government’s bold action to combat climate change, and the Forestry Commission has a vital role in delivering our ambitious plans for England’s forests and woodlands.

I also want to thank Sir Harry for his dedication in leading the organisation for the past seven years and wish him all the best in future endeavours.

Commenting on his appointment, Sir William said:

Trees, woods and forests are so important to us – improving our landscapes, helping capture carbon, improving our general wellbeing and providing a renewable resource in the timber they produce.

It couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the Forestry Commission. As Chair, my aim will be to celebrate, protect and deepen the impact of its excellent work, not only for the sake of our environment but also for the huge benefits that our success brings for society.

Ian Gambles, Chief Executive Officer of Forestry Commission, said:

Sir William’s appointment is great news for the Forestry Commission and the wider forestry sector. He is one of the UK’s most engaged environmental champions for forestry.

I am confident that Sir William will bring the expertise and vision required to set a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands and I look forward to working closely with him.

Sir William will take up the role on 10 February and will be in post for three years.

Once Sir Harry’s term ends, he will be working on a range of projects in alternative energy, carbon capture and climate change mitigation as well as managing his own forestry and farming interests in Devon.

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