Future secure for Rye area woodland

Skinner

Skinner

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WOODLAND in the Rye area looks safe after a report from The Independent Forestry Panel rejected Government plans to sell off England’s publicly owned forest estate.

An d the Government said it will follow the panel’s advice and halt plans to sell-off state owned forests.

Woodland plays a vital role for people and wildlife and should remain in public hands says the RSPB

The panel, set up in March 2011 by the Government after a ministerial U-turn on plans to sell off a chunk of its woodlands, said public forests are a national asset and should not be sold off.

Last year more than half-a-million people signed an online petition to protest against the policy.

The Independent Forestry Panel - headed by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool - published its final report on Wednesday.

Local MEP Peter Skinner said: “The proposal to sell-off and privatise treasured Sussex woodlands was always barmy and totally out of touch. The public have risen up and fought back.

“Hopefully this report will kill off the Government’s plans once and for all. Our forests are a wonderful public asset which should be available to all, not sold off to the highest bidder.”

Woodland plays a vital role for people and wildlife and should remain in public hands says the RSPB

Steve Gilbert, conservation programme manager for RSPB South East, says: “The south east is the most wooded part of England, with approximately 153,000ha of broadleaf native woodland, which is 61% of the English total.

“If woodlands are healthy and well-managed then they are one of our greatest natural assets. We’re pleased to see the report focus on making it a priority for new and existing woodlands in all ownerships to benefit people and wildlife.”