When I was invited to chair the Independent Panel on Forestry one of the insights I was able to contribute was my experience of the way The Mersey Forest has greened our urban landscape.
The Government has now responded to our Report and endorsed the vast majority of our recommendations. It has said unequivocally that our public forests will be held in trust for the nation. It has also rescinded the 15% sell-off to balance the books. It wants to see more woodlands closer to where people live and to engage local communities in the future of forests. All this is music to the ears of those who value Mersey Forest.
One of the big surprises when I was chairing was to realise that our forests provide the biggest source of recreation in our society.
As I said in the foreword to the Panel's report "our forests are nature's playground for the adventurous, pleasure for the curious, hospital for the stressed, cathedral for the spiritual, and livelihood for the entrepreneur. They are a microcosm for the cycle of life in which each and every part is dependent on the other; forests and woods are the benefactor of all, purifying the air we breathe and distilling the water of life".
There is no finer example of this than Mersey Forest. Every leaf that blossoms in the forests tells a simple story – trees are for life.
In this spirit, I would encourage everyone to have their say on this updated Plan to develop The Mersey Forest for the decades ahead.
The Rt. Rev. James Jones
Bishop of Liverpool