Woodland Trust critical of attitude in Government's Independent Panel report on forestry

Tree experts have criticised a report by the Government's advisory panel for its lukewarm commitment to woodland protection.

Woodland Trust said it was disappointed the new Independent Panel on Forestry failed to commit to protection in its interim report last week.

The report from the panel, set up in March by Defra to advise government on the future direction of woodland policy, contained no major recommendations on protection or funding pledges but reiterated the importance of all trees.

"The recent autumn statement announcement by Chancellor George Osborne and the long debate over proposed streamlining of the planning system underline that protection is not a given into the future," said trust policy director Hilary Allison.

She criticised the panel for "assuming" rates of woodland loss would remain low in future and said we had such a low level of woodland cover we could not afford to be complacent about protection. The panel’s final report is due out next year.

"We hope the panel, having heard the outpouring of concern for England’s woods and forests, will ultimately support our vision of doubling native woodland cover so that we bring woods close to more people."

•    View the Independent Panel of Forestry’s Progress Report at http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/

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