"Disappointment" at lack of government commitment on woodland

Ancient woodland - image: Emma Websdale
Ancient woodland - image: Emma Websdale

The Woodland Trust has expressed disappointment at the government's failure to include protection for public forests or ancient woodland in legislation.

A year on from publication of the government's England's Forestry Policy, a meeting of the National Forestry Stakeholder Forum on Wednesday 28 January concluded without a government commitment to enshrine either in law.

Woodland Trust policy director Hilary Allison said afterwards: "The lack of a Forestry Bill overshadows any progress the government has made on its forestry policy for England over the past year.

"If it is serious about safeguarding the future of the public forest estate along with all the benefits it offers for people and wildlife, legislation is the best way of confirming that once and for all."

She added it was "disappointing" that forestry minister Dan Rogerson "did not close down the issue" of ancient woodland offsetting.

Defra secretary Owen Paterson caused controversy at the start of the year by suggesting that developers should be allowed to offset the loss of ancient woodland by planting trees elsewhere.

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