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Relief as forest sell-off scrapped
2:00pm Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
THE New Forest has been saved from government proposals which could have seen parts sold or leased.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has confirmed that the Forest and many other areas of woodland across the UK will remain in public ownership.
And the Forestry Commission, which manages state-owned woods, will be given an extra £3.5million this year to help look after Britain’s trees.
Graham Ferris, chairman of the New Forest Commoners’ Defence Association, which represents the owners of the ponies, cattle and donkey that roam the area, said: “It’s splendid news. The outcome is very favourable for the New Forest and is exactly in line with what we would have wished for.”
A national outcry was sparked when Mr Paterson’s predecessor Caroline Spelman unveiled proposals to dispose of publicly-owned woodland to businesses, communities and charities.
The reaction prompted a U-turn from the Government, which set-up an independent panel on forestry to examine the long-term future of Britain’s forests.