The final report of the Independent Panel on Forestry has been published.
The initial Defra response to the report was fairly warm, and fairly non-committal.
Read the report for yourself, as will I, a few times, but here are the elements which are highlighted in the Executive Summary:
In our report we urge society as a whole to value woodlands for the full range of benefits they bring. We call on Government to pioneer a new approach to valuing and rewarding the management, improvement and expansion of the woodland ecosystems for all the benefits they provide to people, nature and the green economy.
In our report, we recommend Forest Services should evolve to become a public body with duties, powers and functions to champion, protect and increase benefits from trees, woodlands and forests that are good for people, good for nature and good for the green economy.
In our report, we propose that the public forest estate should remain in public ownership, and be defined in statute as land held in trust for the nation. A Charter should be created for the English public forest estate, to be renewed every ten years. The Charter should specify the public benefit mission and statutory duties, and should be delivered
through a group of Guardians, or Trustees, who will be accountable to Parliament. The Guardians will oversee the new public forest management organisation evolved from Forest Enterprise England.
In our report, we urge Government to ensure that the new organisational landscape makes specific provision for international and cross-border arrangements, working closely with the devolved Parliaments on sustainable multi-benefit forestry implementation, research and in the international arena.
More on this tomorrow from me – what do you think?