DEPUTY SPEAKER of the House of Lords and former MEP Lord Duncan of Springbank has been named as the independent chair of forestry and wood body Confor.

Confor CEO Stuart Goodall said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ian Duncan as our new chair after a competitive process which attracted a very high calibre of candidates.

"Ian has wide-ranging experience, is politically well-connected and brings a valuable new perspective to Confor’s work. I look forward to welcoming him as Confor strengthens its team and modernises its governance to better represent members and focus on the significant opportunities ahead for our industry."

Lord Duncan, 47, who is also chair of the National Forest Company, said: "I'm excited to be taking up this appointment at a time when the forestry and wood industry has such a vital role to play, in leading a Green Recovery from Covid-19 and delivering our climate change targets. The industry is worth £2 billion annually to the UK economy and employs more than 50,000 people – and has real potential for further growth.

"I have been very impressed by the professionalism, focus and drive of the Confor team, and their desire to deliver a range of economic, environmental and social benefits by planting and managing trees, and using more home-grown wood."

Mr Goodall added: "As we look towards the COP26 environment summit in Glasgow in Autumn 2021, Lord Duncan's experience and environmental credentials will be important in shaping Confor's message – as we stress the key role forestry and wood can play in pushing us towards the UK net zero target by 2050 (2045 in Scotland)."

Lord Duncan was appointed a working peer in 2017 and his previous roles included Minister for Climate Change, with responsibility for international negotiations. Before joining the Government, Lord Duncan spent more than 12 years in Brussels, including three years as an MEP. During his time in the European Parliament, he sat on the committees responsible for Environment and for Energy. He was the Parliament’s chief negotiator on the reform of EU carbon markets and was his group’s chief negotiator on nine pieces of environmental legislation.

Lord Duncan is also a Board Member of the Schwarzenegger Institute in California and a Fellow of the Geological Society. He holds degrees in geology from the Universities of Bristol and St Andrews.