End of England's forest fiasco
31 January 2013
Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP, has today (Thursday 31 January) confirmed that the sale of England's estate of publicly owned forests has been abandoned.
Friends of the Earth branded the attempt by the previous Environment Minister, Jim Paice, to fast-track the disposal a 'forest fiasco'.
The Government has said it will also retain public access and protect the natural quality of forests - neither of which were a guarantee under the planned sell-off. The announcement also promised greater public access to forests for people to gain the natural health, recreational and learning benefits of being closer to nature.
Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Paul De Zylva welcomed the news:
"Selling off our forests was always a bonkers idea - both environmentally and economically.
"People at the grassroots rightly persuaded ministers to see that adding forests to the pile of Government cuts was plain wrong."
Mr Paterson has also announced that there will be a new body overseeing the public forests and more money will go toward to Forestry Commission. More protection of forests against the threat of disease is to be a top priority in light of the late response to the threat of ash tree die-back entering Britain.
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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust
Last modified: Jan 2013