The omission of the UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA) from a government-appointed panel to examine English forestry policy has been described as an “insult” to the wood processing sector.

The new independent 12-member panel, set up by environment minister Caroline Spelman, includes just a single representative from the forestry and timber industry – Confederation of Forest Industries’ chief executive Stuart Goodall – but a host of other organisations covering land management, wildlife and recreation sectors.

The UKFPA said it should not have been excluded as it was “the legitimate voice of the wood processing industry”.

UKFPA president Tony Mitchell said the UKFPA had been nominated for inclusion and had been willing to play its part.

“However, the news that we have been denied this opportunity is hugely disappointing and very worrying; it is another slap in the face for the industry by the government.

“This news is an insult to the forest products sector in England; how can a panel be expected to produce meaningful recommendations for the minister if one very vital element of the sector is not at the table?”

David Sulman, UKFPA executive director, described the exclusion as “disgraceful”.

“Only last week we saw the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) disregard industry concerns about the impact on the sector of the Renewable Heat Incentive and now Defra has ignored industry’s opinions – this is simply not good enough.”

The panel was announced following the government’s decision last month to shelve its plans to sell 85% of England’s public forests.