Friends of Thetford Forest (FoTF) has read through the Independent Panel's Report on the Future of Forestry, published on 4th July and available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports/ and believes that it contains a positive blueprint for the future of the Public Forest Estate. We are particularly pleased that the Panel recommends that the Public Forest Estate remains in public ownership in perpetuity, an aspiration that has been at the heart of our campaign.
The management structures proposed effectively appear to continue the role of the Forestry Commission in an evolving form, acknowledging its exemplary stewardship of our forests and woods on behalf of us all.
We have two immediate areas of concern however; the membership of the Board of Guardians/Trustees and the references to heathland replacing conifer plantations. The Board of Guardians/Trustees must be made up of those who understand the multi-purpose function of the Public Forest Estate and the value placed upon it by local communities. It must not include 'vested interest' members and must have at least one representative of voluntary groups. Heathland re-creation is mentioned several times in the report and FoTF will be seeking clarification on the implications of this for Thetford Forest and indeed other forests and woods in East Anglia.
FoTF will continue to lobby MPs and decision-makers to gain the best possible outcome for our forests.
We hope that we continue to have your phenomenal support without which our forests would not have been saved!
Prior to publication of the Independent Panel's Final Report Friends of Thetford Forest was one of a small number of 'campaigning organisations' invited to an hours meeting with Lord Taylor of Holbeach in London on Monday 2nd July.
To view the FoTF summary of the final report click here.