The government has set out its new approach to forestry and woodlands today, with the release of its official response to the Independent Panel on Forestry's Final Report.
Following the controversy surrounding plans for England's public woodlands and forests in 2010, the Independent Panel on Forestry was established to advise the government on the direction of public forestry policy, delivering its final report last summer.
Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: "We welcome today's announcement – in particular the government's recognition of the benefits of a partnership approach and the importance of Community Forests in supporting and promoting community action on trees and woodlands."
Other key points from the government's response include:
• The government has acknowledged the importance of the Panel's report and "shares its vision for the future of our forests."
• The Public Forest Estate will remain in public ownership.
• A new body will be established to work alongside the Forestry Commission to "hold the [Public Forest] Estate in trust of the nation and manage it for the long-term benefit of people, the economy and the environment."
Reaction on Twitter has included:
The National Forest @NatForestCo
Bishop James welcomes response even if his 15% increase by 2060 is now 12%. Positions response as cross party policy.
Karen Wilde @wildelycreative
"The Independent Forestry Panel was a result of campaigning not by the major bodies, but a widespread and fierce campaign from the public"
FCEngland Press @FCEnglandPress
Forestry Commission Chair Sir Harry Studholme welcomes the goverment's response to the Independent Panel's proposals:https://bit.ly/XUGzEF
The Tree Council @TheTreeCouncil
Govt commitment in Response to Forestry Panel to seek funding for Big Tree Plant follow-up to develop individuals and communities thru trees
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