Independent Panel on Forestry report brings relief to campaigners

Public forests should be protected and the nation should aspire to woodland access for all, according to a report released today.

Public forests should be protected and the nation should aspire to woodland access for all, a report released today is expected to reveal.

The findings by the Independent Panel on Forestry follow a proposal by the government earlier this year to sell off large swathes of woodland.

This was shelved after a public outcry and the Independent Panel set up to look into the issue of forests in England.

Ramblers chief executive Benedict Southworth said he urged the government to take on board and put in place the report's findings, which could guide the future of forests in England.

The panel, chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, produced a progress report in December in which it confirmed a continuing role for the national public forest estate, arguing it delivered many benefits for people, nature and the economy.

For its final report, the panel discussed how these benefits can be secured for future generations and how more woodlands can be created and brought into management across England.

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For a full report and analysis see Thursday's newspaper.

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