Forestry Panel to visit Thetford and Bury St Edmunds

The Independent Panel on Forestry will visit Suffolk today (Wednesday).

The panel, set up by secretary for the environment, food and rural affairs, Caroline Spelman, last year, will be meeting some of the people involved with East Anglia's forests and woodlands on visits to the Thetford and Bury St Edmunds area.

It will discuss public access and use of forests and examine different methods of supporting the sector.

The panel was set up to advise government on the future of forests and woods in England. Its initial 'call for views' attracted over 42,000 responses across a wide range of topics which were summarised in a progress report which was published in December.

The report confirmed a continuing role for the national public forest estate, which delivers many benefits for people, nature and the economy.

The panel, which will produce a final report, is now discussing how these benefits can be secured for future generations and also how more woodlands can be both created and brought into management across England.

Panel members will hear how the different mechanisms of grants, support and partnership are working, using local examples of new supply chains for East Anglian woodfuel and venison.

Most Read

They will then join a discussion on woodland access and the public use of forests with a number of local representative organisations, including the Friends of Thetford Forest, East Anglian Forest Horse Riders, Save Sandlings Forest campaign, Local Access Forum and the Green Light Trust.

The panel has already visited nine other areas to learn about different aspects of woodland and forestry. These include developing jobs and career structures in the forestry sector, using trees as part of flood defences, and how ancient woodland can be restored. Panel members have also considered the practical issues of managing woodland for social benefit and the role of multi-purpose forestry in increasing biodiversity. A report is due in June.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter