Tory-led Government plans to sell off England’s forests rejected by independent panel
The Independent Panel on Forestry – which was set up following the great forest u-turn in February - published its interim report on 8th December. The report rejects the government's approach and recognises the important role that the Public Forest Estate plays in providing public enjoyment and access, helping to develop new green jobs. Echoing the 500,000 people who signed the Save Our Forests petition, the panel calls for the forest estate to remain in public hands.
Shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh said: "Caroline Spelman misjudged the public mood when she tried to sell off our public forests in England earlier this year and was forced to execute an embarrassing u-turn. Labour welcomes this thoughtful report from the independent forestry Panel, which reflects the views of some 40 000 people and their heartfelt concern and affection for England’s forests. Our forests are a precious reflection of our national heritage, and will play a pivotal role in the green economy and our low carbon future
“The National Ecosystem Assessment valued the public enjoyment of our forests at £484 million a year, yet they cost us just £20 million a year which is brilliant value for money. This out of touch Government should now drop its plans to sell 15% of England’s forests and set out how it will protect biodiversity, encourage the woodland economy and secure access for future generations to enjoy.”
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