Government must accept Independent Panel on Forestry's report, say campaigners

Campaigners have called on the government to accept recommendations made by the Independent Panel on Forestry on the future of England's trees and woods, in its official response to the panel's report.

Campaign to Protect Rural England said the Government, which is due to publish its response to the Independent Panel on Forestry, must build bridges after making a spectacular blunder when it came to power by proposing to sell off publicly owned forests.

The Government’s response is set to lay out its aspirations for the future of England’s trees and the public forest estate. 

CPRE rural policy campaigner Emma Marrington said the coalition made a "huge mistake" in trying to sell off Britain’s beloved forests. "Hundreds of thousands of people voiced their anger, forcing a U-turn," she said.

"It was right, in the aftermath of this episode, to appoint an independent panel on the future of our woods and forests. Having done that, the Government must now act on what they said."

The Panel’s report was published in July 2012 and described a vision of a woodland culture for the 21st century. Recommendations included the need to improve trees and woods for people, nature and the green economy.

It also suggested the forest estate remain in public ownership, which the Government eventually agreed.

CPRE particularly welcomed the following recommendations: to increase England’s woodland cover by 50 per cent by 2060, increase access to public and privately owned woods, plant trees closer to people, and protect ancient woodland and trees of special interest.


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