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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Publicly owned forests safe

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meg Munn MP has welcomed the government decision to accept the majority of the findings from an independent report into the publicly owned forests in England. The report was produced by the Independent Panel on Forestry, set up by the government in early 2011 following a public outcry about its plan to start selling off large areas of publicly owned forests. 

 

The report described the woodlands as a ‘national treasure’ and recommended a new public body to hold in trust the nation’s forests for future generations. The government has accepted this and also pledged to increase the amount of money that will be spent on forests, boosting the Forestry Commission’s budget by 3.5 million next year to make up for lost income from sales of woodland. They are also allocating 2 million to recognise the additional pressures arising from the outbreak of Ash dieback disease.

 

Among the other recommendations in the Independent Panel on Forestry report are:

         Measurably increasing the quantity and quality of access to public and privately owned woodlands,

         Ensuring every child "has an element of woodland-based learning", and

         Protecting current funding for woodland management and creation.

 

The Independent Panel on Forestry also recommended that woodland cover should increase from 10% to 15% by 2060 but the government has said it will only increase this to 12%. There are in excess of 1,000 publicly owned forests in England, covering an estimated 258,000 hectares. It accounts for 18% of English woodlands, and covers about 9% of the nation - one of the lowest percentages in Europe.

 

Meg commented:

 

“As a long-time member of the Woodland Trust I am very pleased that the government has listened to the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry. Being able to walk amongst our woods and forests is a great way of raising the spirit and putting things into perspective.”

 

To see the report visit: http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/files/Independent-Panel-on-Forestry-Final-Report1.pdf


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