Forestry Panel Report…Government must commit to nature in the Public Forest Estate
Thursday 5th July 2012
© George Clough
As the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report is released, Northumberland Wildlife Trust welcomes Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman’s pledge that ‘our forests will stay in public hands’ and broadly welcome the Panel’s recommendations.
But vitally, Northumberland Wildlife Trust urges the Government to adopt the Panel’s recommendations for a changed remit for the Forestry Commission to ensure it gives nature; people’s enjoyment of woodlands; and the sustainable woodland management a higher priority.
There is much more to do to build on the potential of the Public Forest Estate and the Trust is calling on the Government to invest in England’s woods and forests to secure nature’s recovery.
Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at the Trust said: “The Public Forest Estate is a tremendous national asset and has the potential to deliver even more benefits for wildlife and people. We currently invest £20 million a year which provides an estimated return of £400million. At 20:1 this is a phenomenal return on this national investment, providing huge benefits to the nation.
“The Public Forest Estate has the potential to help achieve the objectives of last year’s Natural Environment White Paper through the integration, better protection, reconnection and restoration of woodlands. That’s why we had hoped to see stronger recommendations from the Panel, specifically the reconnection of woodlands at a landscape- scale.
“We want to see stronger protection for existing woodlands, especially ancient woodlands, and more urgency in the restoration of open habitats. Steve concluded: “We believe areas of lowland heathland, meadow and other internationally important open habitats planted with conifers should be restored with urgency. It is critical that the Government takes this opportunity to release this potential within the Public Forest Estate.”
You can read the full report here
The Independent Panel on Forestry
The Independent Panel on Forestry was established on 17 March 2011 by the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP, to advise government on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England. The Panel is chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool. Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, sits on the Panel in a personal capacity. The panel’s final report will be published on Wednesday 4 July 2012.
The Wildlife Trusts have engaged with the Panel at every opportunity. Our recommendations to the Panel reflect our vision for A Living Landscape and enshrine the thinking about nature’s recovery in the Lawton Review and Natural Environment White Paper. The Wildlife Trusts submitted a response to the Panel’s call for views, which can be downloaded at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-landscape/woodland-and-forestry/independent-panel-forestry-england
The Natural Environment White Paper
The Government’s White Paper, published in June 2011, emphasises the intrinsic, economic and social value of the natural environment. It also endorses the need for a landscape-scale approach to securing nature’s recovery.
Tagged with: Living Landscapes