Consultant warns that forest sell-off remains a threat

Arboriculture consultant Jeremy Barrell has warned that the Government has not abandoned plans to cash in on the Forestry Commission estate, after its U-turn on selling off Forestry Commission woodlands last week.

In an apology to Parliament, environment secretary Caroline Spelman confirmed that consultation on the plans was being halted. A public outcry over the plans led to half-a-million people signing a petition against the sell-off.

Barrell responded: "They still have the idea they need to devolve (Forestry Commission) management and get rid of the costs, but that is a ridiculously short-sighted approach. The threat is still there of the balanced management they had before being lost.

"They were trying to avert criticism from the initial proposal but are still looking at other ways of trying to achieve the same thing. We still can't relax."

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