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National Forest cited as exemplar project

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

By HELEN KREFT

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THE National Forest has been cited as an example of effective tree creation as the Government revealed that publically owned woodlands shall be held in a trust for the nation.

The National Forest, whose 6,500 hectares sprawls across South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire, was given a boost with a mention in the Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement from the Department of Environment, Foods and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It comes after a consultation on the public forestry estate which ended in massive opposition for any ‘sell off’ of the public forest, with the National Forest saying the new publication ‘seems to mark the calming, at least, of a pretty turbulent time in forestry policy for England.’

Its final report in July 2012 contained 31 recommendations covering a wide range of issues, including tree health – the importance of which became even clearer with the confirmation in the wider environment of ash dieback in autumn 2012.

It also include the future of the Public Forest Estate, and has now confirmed that the Government intends to establish a new, separate Public Forest Estate management body to hold the Estate in trust for the nation.

The report said: “We will give it greater freedom to achieve a sustainable financial position and manage its resources to best effect within a clear long-term remit to maintain and enhance the land, trees and other assets under its care.”

A spokesman for The National Forest said: “In essence, the Government accepts the panel’s main recommendations including, centrally, that publically owned woodlands should be held in trust for the nation. Campaign groups should be feeling a warm glow today. Forest creation is supported too, albeit an increase of 12 per cent, not 15 per cent, by 2060. The gloss on this is that it woodland creation has to add value, for example for the market or by being near where people live. The days of woodlands being good anywhere, at any cost, are well and truly behind us.”

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