New chief executive for Forestry England

New chief executive for Forestry England

1 August 2019

Forestry England, the country’s largest land manager and the arm of the Forestry Commission that manages the nation’s forests, has a new chief executive. Mike Seddon has almost 30 years of experience in forestry and forestry policy and begins his new role today, 1 August 2019.

Photo of Mike Seddon chief executive from August 2019

Mike said:

“Forestry England manages one of the country’s greatest public assets: the nation’s forests.

“The need for public forests came from tough times between the two World Wars and I am incredibly proud to be leading the organisation towards another hundred years. From an emerging climate crisis to wildlife decline, the challenges for the next century will be tough, but I am driven to expand on the great things the nation’s forests already achieve today.

“Our forests welcome more than 230 million visits every year – and we will make forests even more accessible by planting some forests closer to where people live. As they grow they will create places to relax and improve people’s physical and mental health. All of the forests in our care will continue to work for society and we will increase their natural capital. From cleaner air and reduced flooding to walking trails and play equipment we are making wildlife-rich, connected landscapes.”

The nation’s forests supply around half of the country’s home-grown timber, all meeting international standards for sustainability. Some of country’s rarest wildlife thrives under Forestry England’s careful management in heathland, wetlands and, of course forests. From majestic hen harriers to fascinating ladybird spiders they all rely on experienced ecologists and foresters.

Looking forward, Mike continued:

“All forests, and the wildlife that depends on them, will need to survive and thrive in a changing climate. We will also need more forests to absorb carbon while they grow and we can keep that carbon locked up by using more timber products.

“The challenge is huge and we are ambitious: we want to connect everyone to the nation’s forests.”

Notes to Editor

  1. Pictures are available of Mike Seddon as well as recreation, sustainable timber and wildlife in the nation’s forests.
  2. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.

    Last year Forestry England was 84 per cent self-financed with most of its income coming from timber, leisure and tourism services and other business partnerships.  [84 per cent self-financing percentage calculated from: funding from Forestry Commission England divided by the sum of total operating income and funding from Forestry Commission England (£17,168,000 /£107,009,000 = 0.16). Figures from p39 of the annual report and accounts 18/19.]
  3. Mike Seddon (51) is ‘living the dream’ having been determined to work in forestry from an early age and graduating in forestry management from University of Aberdeen. Mike was Chief Operating Officer from 2015 and before then Forest Management Director for South England. Previous roles include: the Independent Panel on Forestry, Forestry Commission and Defra.
  4. Media Contact: Stuart Burgess,, 0300 067 4073