Jake reports, “This consultation looks at ways of creating far greater safeguards for access rights, environmental protection and public benefit. It is vital that we find ways of improving those safeguards, given the way in which 25,000 acres of woodland were sold under Labour with minimal protections.
In particular it asks people to consider if they would like our most important woodlands to be given ‘heritage status’ and run by charitable trusts, with funding provided by central government to run them.
It asks people to consider if local community groups and civic organisations should be given the opportunity to take over the running of their local woodlands.
And it asks if our commercial forests should be put on a more secure financial footing by bringing other organisations in to lease the land.
Any leases would guarantee ongoing access rights and public benefits.”
Jake adds, “It is regrettable that this important discussion about how we get better protection for our woodlands has been distorted by our political opponents. Particularly given the documentary evidence that Labour was considering taking a very similar approach just months before the General Election.
“This is a genuine twelve week consultation which can be accessed at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-pfeconsultation
“I would urge all those, who like me have a strong interest in this important issue, to get involved with it.”