Defra announces plans to protect forests

The creation of a new public body to safeguard public forests and a greater focus on tree health research are among Government plans to protect woodland published today.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) also encouraged the public to get involved in OPAL’s upcoming survey on tree health.

The New Forest in Hampshire by davidgsteadman on FlickrThe survey, to be launched in May 2013, will give people the opportunity to take part in a major field examination of trees for pests and pathogens, including ash dieback.

Ministers announced the measures as part of their response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s 2012 report and confirmed they have accepted many of the panel's recommendations in full.

“We all care passionately about our woodlands, which is why I share the Independent Panel’s vision for the future of our forests,” Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said.

He added: “We need to look after this precious resource. Recent pest and disease outbreaks have underlined that, in addition to increasing woodland, we must protect what we have and help others to do so.”

The new independent public body will own, maintain and safeguard the nation’s publicly-owned forests, alongside the continuing work of the Forestry Commission.


New Forest photo: by Flickr user davidgsteadman, some rights reserved.