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Fate of our Forests Looms Near

June 26, 2012

Fate of our forests looms close


The fate of one of life’s simple pleasures, a walk in the woods, will be decided next week as recommendations are unveiled on the future of England’s Forests.

In response to last year’s public outcry over the proposed sale of public woodland an Independent Forestry Panel was set up to look into the future of English woods. The Ramblers have been campaigning vigorously to ensure that freedom to enjoy our woods is protected and eagerly await the Panel’s findings which will be unveiled on 4th July.

Britain’s Walking Charity welcomed the Panel’s interim progress report in December; which backed public forests and the need for the ‘gold standard’ quality of access they provide to continue. The Ramblers however has continued to urge The Panel to not only consider the 18% of woodland in England owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, but to recommended ways to increase access the other 82% of Forests in England, so that even more people across the country can enjoy a walk in the woods. There is a golden opportunity for the Panel to truly put public access at the heart of forestry policy in England.

The Ramblers has called for the Panel to:

1. Maintain a commitment to keeping the Public Forest Estate and the current amount and quality of access it offers. 2. Commit to increasing recreational benefits and public access in woodland outside of the public forest estate. 3. Ensure that new additions to the public forest estate are easily accessible and include community support and involvement.

Nicky Philpott, Ramblers Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:

“The Panel has a once in a generation opportunity to be bold and imaginative and look at how we can extend the benefits of woodland to even more people across England.

“Local forests have for a long time been a favourite place to walk, play and explore, to provide inspiration and rejuvenation, which explains the huge outcry over the sale of public woodland last year.

“The Secretary of State, Caroline Spellman, asked the Panel to look at the future of all English woodland and to put access at the heart of its recommendations.

“We want the Panel to maintain its commitment to Public Forests but also hope it goes further and looks at ways to increase public access to woodland outside the Public Forest Estate.”


Notes to editors:

• The Independent Panel on the Future of Forestry in England is due to report its findings on 4th July 2012. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spellman MP, will then have the power to decide whether the recommendations are taken forward.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 26, 2012 6:04 pm

    If Lord Clark and Eric Robson get their (well paid) way the forests will soon be transpiring radioactive carbon.
    Save the Forests from the Nukiller Dump

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