News release Friday 1 February 2013 from One Voice, New Forest
ONE VOICE broadly welcomes the government’s response to the Independent Forestry Panel’s recommendations for the future of the Public Forest Estate (PFE).
We are particularly pleased to see that the previously earmarked sale of 15% of the PFE has been officially rescinded and that an additional £3.5m funding will be given to the Forestry Commission to make up for lost sales income. We are delighted that the PFE will remain in public ownership and hope the omission of ‘in perpetuity’ in the document was merely a technical error. We are, however, disappointed that government has not been able to make a commitment to the recommended funding of £22m.
We are delighted that Minister David Heath has recognised the importance of including grass roots campaign groups to help shape and be a part of the new body of ‘guardians of the Public Forest Estate’. We look forward to working closely with the government, Forestry Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that the new body’s governance and structures are robust, open, transparent and accountable to the public. This is a unique opportunity for government to demonstrate their commitment of listening to the voices of smaller communities on an equal footing with larger ‘not for profit’ organisations.
Sue Baillie, co-founder of One Voice said “Although there is still a great deal of detail to be fleshed out, and legislative timeframes need to be firmed up, as well as the important issues of securing adequate funding, I believe this is a good step forward in gaining the confidence and trust of ordinary folk who care deeply and passionately about their forests and woodlands. The clue is in the title “Public Forest Estate”.
Sue Baillie: email@example.com