Defra’s official response to the Gangmasters Licensing Act consultation includes an exemption for forestry. The change comes into effect as early as October 1.

Confor led industry efforts to persuade the government about the low risks of forestry workers to gangmaster exploitation. It argued that the red tape and costs were damaging small businesses in the forestry sector and posing a threat to the sustainable management of UK forests and woodlands.

Gangmaster licensing fees had already been dropped pending the outcome of the consultation.

“It is very hard to remove legislation, even when the evidence is presented that it is doing more harm than good, “ said Confor chief executive Stuart Goodall.

“I am grateful to all those who helped us win this particular battle.”

A hundred responses were received during the consultation, of which two-thirds were from forestry stakeholders supporting an industry exclusion from the legislation.