Independent Forestry Panel report out tomorrow

The long-awaited report from the Independent Forestry Panel is due out tomorrow morning (4 July) and set to list a raft of measures on everything from climate change to future ownership of woodlands.

The panel was set up last March by the environment secretary Caroline Spelman to advise government on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England.

It followed public rage over Government plans to sell off some of the woodlands of the Forestry Commission. Bishop of Liverpool the right reverend James Jones heads a team including a host of chief executives and forest experts.

It includes Institute of Chartered Foresters’ executive director Shireen Chambers, National Trust director-general Dame Fiona Reynolds and Woodland Trust chief executive Sue Holden.

The contents are unknown but many industry leaders want to see recommendations on woodland targets, the future of the Forestry Commission’s woodland estate and suggested planning changes to safeguard ancient woods.

The panel’s terms of reference include advising on policy, the future of the Forestry Commission and how to increase woodland cover. It is also charged with looking at public access, biodiversity, climate-change mitigation and economic development.

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