Jonathan Ritchie, Area Wood Supply and Transport Manager won the Innovation and Research award at the Confor Awards Dinner held last week.

Jonathan was recognised for using the haulage fleet as a test bed for a variety of innovative industry leading initiatives to improve the health, safety and welfare of drivers. Jonathan has been instrumental in a number of recent innovations at James Jones & Sons, including implementing a Hi Vision VR loading system, which allows drivers to have total crane control from the safety of their cab.

More than 150 guests attended the awards dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said he was delighted with the increased turn-out after the three new awards were added. “We wanted to celebrate the importance of strong leadership, brilliant innovation and great communication in creating a thriving 21st century forestry and timber industry.We were very pleased with the quantity and quality of the entries in all three new categories - and I’m delighted to honour young foresters like Mima Letts and Andrew MacQueen, as well as a great servant of our industry like Jon Ritchie. I’m very optimistic about the coming years for our profession as forestry moves up the political agenda and its environmental and economic benefits are more widely recognised.”

Mr Goodall thanked the award sponsors - Forestry Commission, Forestry & Land Scotland, James Jones & Sons Ltd and Scottish Woodlands - and said he hoped the expanded awards programme would continue in 2021 and beyond.