As we approach the end of what can only be described as an interesting year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the last year and for all the work and opportunities that you have provided.

When preparing our Christmas newsletter last year, we were hoping that the New Year would see the emergence of reinvigorated political leadership.  As we prepare for 2020 we finally have this, and regardless of our politics, all of us can appreciate the value of a release from the recent paralysis.

Despite all the uncertainty and confusion, we have continued to be pleasantly surprised at the level of activity and the resilience of markets and the wider economy.

Natural Capital

River – Photo Credit, Louise Fox

The environment continues to maintain its profile in both the public’s and the government’s thinking, highlighted by the fact that some two thirds of our local authorities have declared a climate emergency.

October saw the publication of the Environment Bill setting out commitments to biodiversity net gain, Local Nature Recovery Networks and the proposed creation of an Office for Environmental Protection, together with aspirations to achieve a zero net carbon position by 2050, which we hope will pave the way to an emerging marketplace in natural capital and environmental services.

The Agriculture Bill 2018 and the anticipated move from production subsidies to a framework of funding the delivery of public goods, also looks set to move forward, offering challenges and opportunities for the whole rural sector.

Lockhart Garratt are at the heart of this above agenda and working closely with many partners across the sector to develop opportunities in this emerging marketplace.

Forestry

Never has the profile of forestry and woodlands been higher.  The recent election campaign saw the political parties playing “Top Trumps” on woodland creation targets.  Within their manifesto the Conservative party committed to plant some 30,000/ha per annum, almost tripling current rates, with the aspiration to see more lowland planting.

The introduction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, strong timber prices and vibrant investment markets will see woodland emerging as a really important component of the rural property portfolio.

In March, John Lockhart (Chairman) will be a keynote speak at the Ecosystems Knowledge Network Conference focusing on woodland creation.

Ash

Sadly Ash Dieback has continued to be a key focus of 2019, and we are seeing an accelerating decline in the ash population.

Whilst this and other tree diseases will present many challenges, we believe that these trees have an important role to play in both the rural and urban environments.  Our advice booklet for clients “Sunset for ash trees?” aims to ensure that whilst understanding the challenges we look forward with optimism.

One of the main impacts of the disease is its impact on tree risk, and the need to have in place proportionate and robust systems.  As a company we have helped many organisations take control of this issue through system development, including cloud based record keeping.

Sharing Knowledge

As a business we are always keen to share technical knowledge with our clients and colleagues.  We were delighted by the response to our first Technical Conference in the summer with keynote speaker, Merrick Denton-Thompson and are already planning a comprehensive programme of events for 2020 to help you to keep on the front foot in the new emerging land management, environmental, forestry and agriculture sectors.

Investors in People

We are immensely proud to have been awarded our Investors in People status again.  This marks our 12th year as an Investors in People company.  As a professional consultancy our team is our strongest asset and external recognition that we are supporting them to grow both professionally and personally is key to us providing you with support at the highest level.

Looking Forward

There are many challenges and real opportunities our sector will face during 2020.  As a business we are right sat the forefront of discussions, and will continue to use our influence to guide and shape the direction of emerging policies to ensure that they can work effectively our clients and the whole sector.

This year we will undoubtedly see areas where our technical expertise and experience come to the fore, in particular around natural capital, ecosystem services, carbon, woodland and green infrastructure.  Developing these market and revenue opportunities for our clients and within the sector will be our key focus.

2020 Desktop Calendar

This year we have once again produced our much sought after desktop calendar, which earlier this week was posted out to many friends, associates and clients.  We do still have some copies in stock, so if you haven’t yet received one, but would like to order a copy please contact [email protected].

All copies and postage are free of charge, and as per previous years all of the wonderful photographs have been supplied by our staff.

And Finally…

Thank you for all of your support during 2019.  It has been a challenging but exciting year and we look forward with confidence to the new decade.

Everyone at Lockhart Garratt wishes you and your families all the best for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes.

Lockhart Garratt

 

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