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4 July 2012
The Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomes the Independent Panel on Forestry's final report, and calls on Ministers to put its vision into action including by promoting a second National Forest for England.
Following today's publication of the final report by the Independent Panel on Forestry, Ben Stafford, CPRE's Head of Campaigns says:
"We congratulate the Panel for setting out an ambitious vision for our woodlands. We particularly welcome its call to increase England's woodland cover by 50 percent by 2060. Initiating a competition on where to create a second National Forest for England, following in the footsteps of the successful Midlands National Forest, would be one good way to start working towards this ambition.
"We are delighted that the Panel has recommended that the public forest estate should remain in public ownership, and that the government has quickly endorsed that call. Swift action is now needed to increase access to those public woodlands, and to private woods too, as advocated by the Panel.
"The real test now is how the government will act to take forward these ambitious recommendations. Ministers will rightly take time to consider the report, but the six month timetable they have set themselves is long enough. We need to maintain momentum on this issue. The hundreds of thousands of people who protested against the original sell-off plans will want to see a positive new vision for woods and trees that will guarantee their future for generations to come."