A number of conservation organisations have urged the government to honour its commitment to protect England’s woodlands, by creating a new public forest management body.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, members of the Woodland Trust, Confederation of Forest Industries, Save Our Woods, Our Forests, Ramblers, 38 Degrees and Wildlife Trusts wrote, “The government must take this opportunity, before it is too late, to move beyond the controversies of the past and keep the promises it has made for our forests.
“A bill, once passed, will enable the public forest estate to contribute fully to a bright new future for the environment, people and the economy.”
Drawing on the recommendation by the Independent Panel on Forestry, the group invited David Cameron to keep his promise to create a new public forest management organisation for England, ahead of the Queen’s Speech.
The government was forced to drop plans to sell out part of the Public Forest Estate (PFE) back in 2011, following public outrage and later promised the creation of a new body.
Beccy Speight, CEO of the Woodland Trust, added, “Trees and woods are not a luxury, they are essential for our quality of life.
“The public forest estate provides a variety of cost-effective benefits for society, it is vital in ensuring people’s physical and mental health and well-being, and provides much needed wildlife habitat with 22% of England’s irreplaceable ancient woodland lying within the estate.
“The hundreds of thousands of people who have made their views on the public forest estate so powerfully known since 2011 deserve reassurance that England’s public forests will be held in trust for the nation.”
Photo: Simon Harrod via flickr