Parts of New Forest will not be sold off

Daily Echo: Experts to back publicly-owned forests Experts to back publicly-owned forests

HAMPSHIRE wildlife campaigners have this morning welcomed news that the Government will not sell off part of the publicly owned New Forest.

The announcement today, by environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, comes after an expert panel recommended it stay in public ownership.

Experts were asked to examine the future of England's woodlands, including parts of the New Forest, after the Government's failed sell-off bid and are today set to back publicly-owned forests.

The Independent Panel on Forestry was formed last year by the Government, after a huge public outcry forced ministers to abandon an attempt to dispose of the entire 258,000 hectare public forest estate to businesses and charities.

The panel's final report published today says there is still a role for publicly-owned forests, emphasising the wide benefits to people's health, the environment and economy they deliver for just £20 million a year.

The news has been met with approval by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

A spokesman said: “Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust welcomes the Panel’s recommendation that the public forest estate remains in public ownership. We look to government to accept this recommendation.

“The Wildlife Trust also welcomes the recognition by the Panel of the many opportunities that the management of the public forest estate offers to people and wildlife – from restoring ancient woodlands to providing ‘green lungs’ for our cities.

“The critical issue now is to ensure there is a new mandate and sufficient resources to deliver these benefits.”

The report also likely recommends changes to the Forestry Commission, which owns and manages the estate.

Early last year the Government published plans to privatise England's public forests, which make up just under a fifth of the country's total woodland area, by selling some woods to businesses and giving others to charities to run.

But the consultation over the plans, which even included proposals to sell woods to communities who enjoy them for free, had to be curtailed as public outrage forced a U-turn over the policy.

Separate plans to sell 15 per cent of the public forest estate, the maximum that can be disposed of under current legislation, were also put on hold while the forestry panel conducted its inquiry into the future of England's woodlands.

The panel chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool published an interim report last December which said public forests were a ``wonderful asset'' that should be managed for the long term, not according to electoral time-scales.

It also said the the public forest estate cost a ``very modest'' £20 million, a very small level of funding in government terms, and delivered benefits far in excess of what it cost, making it good value for money.

It warned that while land could and should be bought and sold for the benefit of the whole estate, it should not be sold to make up for a shortfall in income, as had happened in recent years.

Ahead of the publication of the final report, campaigners called for the Government to invest more money in looking after publicly-owned woodlands to reverse declines in birds, butterflies and plants.

Ministers were urged to recognise that the value of woods goes beyond timber or land prices, and to ensure the estate was managed in the future with a new focus on nature and benefits for people.

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said: "An Independent Panel, which included representatives from landowners and industry, has told us something that we all knew in our hearts to be true: all English people should have access to a walk in the woods.

"The aspiration of the report is one which not only sees the continuation of a strong Public Forest Estate but a future where every person has access to a local woodland - something which the Ramblers has campaigned passionately for.''

The panel was made up of heads of conservation and countryside charities and forestry and rural business interests.

Comments (8)

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8:28am Wed 4 Jul 12

Andy Locks Heath says...

This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all.
And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't.
This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all. And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't. Andy Locks Heath

9:16am Wed 4 Jul 12

Mewling Quim says...

Sell it, it just sits there doing nothing. We're not allowed to do anything on it. SELL IT!
Sell it, it just sits there doing nothing. We're not allowed to do anything on it. SELL IT! Mewling Quim

9:35am Wed 4 Jul 12

St Retford says...

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING! St Retford

11:20am Wed 4 Jul 12

Home Rule for England says...

The UK Government should not be allowed to sell off any of England's assets to subsidise the UK. We English have to pay for things like prescriptions, elderly care, university education etc while Scotland Wales and N.Ireland get a much better deal.
It is an outrage that English assets were to be sold off to pay for Scotland etc.'s benefits!
The UK Government should not be allowed to sell off any of England's assets to subsidise the UK. We English have to pay for things like prescriptions, elderly care, university education etc while Scotland Wales and N.Ireland get a much better deal. It is an outrage that English assets were to be sold off to pay for Scotland etc.'s benefits! Home Rule for England

11:35am Wed 4 Jul 12

Boatman says...

Mewling Quim wrote:
Sell it, it just sits there doing nothing. We're not allowed to do anything on it. SELL IT!
What are you taking?
[quote][p][bold]Mewling Quim[/bold] wrote: Sell it, it just sits there doing nothing. We're not allowed to do anything on it. SELL IT![/p][/quote]What are you taking? Boatman

11:49am Wed 4 Jul 12

good-gosh says...

The forest is not only needed for wildlife, recreation and timber. It is also a vital reserve space for military activities and civil evacuations whenever needed.
The forest is not only needed for wildlife, recreation and timber. It is also a vital reserve space for military activities and civil evacuations whenever needed. good-gosh

11:55am Wed 4 Jul 12

Paramjit Bahia says...

Andy Locks Heath wrote:
This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all.
And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't.
Andy, people or groups who may be on your hate list only exercised their rights because the inexperienced Spelman, (whose only main experience was cooking the books on her expenses!!!), behaved like a bull in china shop by trying to attack the cause close to hearts of not only these people but many others as well.

In all fairness it may not even have been her own idea, but of some ‘Humphreys’ because our so called democratic government in reality works on Yes Minister system.

Yes many worthy causes you have mentioned are shabbily treated by this government, just like the last one which did the same even when they had plenty of money available. You may still remember disabled demonstrating out side Downing Street when Tory Blair was the Prime Minister.

Real problem is the priorities of our governments of last few decades under all major parties. That disease can only be cured if we the people start exercising our democratic rights by making our political class properly accountable. I may be stepping on some super sensitive nationalistic toes, but in my view as a nation we may love bragging about our democracy to the rest of the world, but in reality collectively we have forgotten what it is all about. We should be learning something from people like small lady with big principles from Burma.
[quote][p][bold]Andy Locks Heath[/bold] wrote: This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all. And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't.[/p][/quote]Andy, people or groups who may be on your hate list only exercised their rights because the inexperienced Spelman, (whose only main experience was cooking the books on her expenses!!!), behaved like a bull in china shop by trying to attack the cause close to hearts of not only these people but many others as well. In all fairness it may not even have been her own idea, but of some ‘Humphreys’ because our so called democratic government in reality works on Yes Minister system. Yes many worthy causes you have mentioned are shabbily treated by this government, just like the last one which did the same even when they had plenty of money available. You may still remember disabled demonstrating out side Downing Street when Tory Blair was the Prime Minister. Real problem is the priorities of our governments of last few decades under all major parties. That disease can only be cured if we the people start exercising our democratic rights by making our political class properly accountable. I may be stepping on some super sensitive nationalistic toes, but in my view as a nation we may love bragging about our democracy to the rest of the world, but in reality collectively we have forgotten what it is all about. We should be learning something from people like small lady with big principles from Burma. Paramjit Bahia

12:10pm Wed 4 Jul 12

hulla baloo says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Andy Locks Heath wrote:
This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all.
And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't.
Andy, people or groups who may be on your hate list only exercised their rights because the inexperienced Spelman, (whose only main experience was cooking the books on her expenses!!!), behaved like a bull in china shop by trying to attack the cause close to hearts of not only these people but many others as well.

In all fairness it may not even have been her own idea, but of some ‘Humphreys’ because our so called democratic government in reality works on Yes Minister system.

Yes many worthy causes you have mentioned are shabbily treated by this government, just like the last one which did the same even when they had plenty of money available. You may still remember disabled demonstrating out side Downing Street when Tory Blair was the Prime Minister.

Real problem is the priorities of our governments of last few decades under all major parties. That disease can only be cured if we the people start exercising our democratic rights by making our political class properly accountable. I may be stepping on some super sensitive nationalistic toes, but in my view as a nation we may love bragging about our democracy to the rest of the world, but in reality collectively we have forgotten what it is all about. We should be learning something from people like small lady with big principles from Burma.
This country seems now only to be a democratric country when is suits the needs of the powers that be. Some of the examples already given would not be passed if the public are given the note, and I would also suggest that our promised referendum to be removed from the EU will not happen, despite what appears to be the majorit calling for it. Democratic country? My A55
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andy Locks Heath[/bold] wrote: This entire thing was an unececessary expensive excercise in pointless so called consultation with an artificial incorrect agenda set by groups such as Ramblers and a smattering of uninformed celebrities all feeding off each others exagerrated and incorrect assumptions. From the very start of this expensive "consultation period" it was clear that this would be the outcome but in the intervening two years the consultancy panel have been jetted at public expense to just about anywhere in the world that has a forest in order to conduct pointless "studies" and "fact finding missions". It is typical that we cannot find funding for our disabled and disadvantaged but set up a Quango or a public enquiry and the same old suspects jump on the gravy train for no public benefit at all. And for anyone puzzled over what this has actually delivered, and bearing in mind that right to roam covenants are bound in to all Forestry Commission sales and have been for many years - when walking through a wood can you see the difference between a public tree and a private tree, because I can't.[/p][/quote]Andy, people or groups who may be on your hate list only exercised their rights because the inexperienced Spelman, (whose only main experience was cooking the books on her expenses!!!), behaved like a bull in china shop by trying to attack the cause close to hearts of not only these people but many others as well. In all fairness it may not even have been her own idea, but of some ‘Humphreys’ because our so called democratic government in reality works on Yes Minister system. Yes many worthy causes you have mentioned are shabbily treated by this government, just like the last one which did the same even when they had plenty of money available. You may still remember disabled demonstrating out side Downing Street when Tory Blair was the Prime Minister. Real problem is the priorities of our governments of last few decades under all major parties. That disease can only be cured if we the people start exercising our democratic rights by making our political class properly accountable. I may be stepping on some super sensitive nationalistic toes, but in my view as a nation we may love bragging about our democracy to the rest of the world, but in reality collectively we have forgotten what it is all about. We should be learning something from people like small lady with big principles from Burma.[/p][/quote]This country seems now only to be a democratric country when is suits the needs of the powers that be. Some of the examples already given would not be passed if the public are given the note, and I would also suggest that our promised referendum to be removed from the EU will not happen, despite what appears to be the majorit calling for it. Democratic country? My A55 hulla baloo

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