The BMC has today submitted their views to the Independent Panel, set up to advise Government on the future of England’s forests and woods.
In order to advise government on the future of forests and woods in England, the Independent Panel wants to understand the widest range of views, interests and expertise and so have posed a number of questions for the public to answer, in particular what this part of our landscape can and should provide, now and in the future.
The Panel’s considerations include the work of the Forestry Commission, forests and woods in public, private and charitable ownership, the economics of forestry, public benefits such as well being, access for leisure pursuits and the role of forests and woods, and related open habitat, in the wider natural environment.
The BMC’s response can be read in full here. Overall, we believe our forests and woods should be accessible, healthy, well managed and well balanced landscapes, where the delivery of multiple public benefits – access, biodiversity, landscape conservation and sustainable forest management practices - are all achieved. The Public Forest Estate (PFE) should be an exemplar of good management practice, where commercial and other uses are well balanced.
The BMC recommends that where current access provision through our woods and forests is not safeguarded in law, dedication through the CROW Act is sought, as has been the case with all of the BMC’s and the Forestry Commissions own land holdings.
In particular, the overarching challenge must be the ways in which national policy and appropriate delivery mechanisms can safeguard and improve access alongside biodiversity targets. This must be examined across public and privately owned woodland and forests throughout England.
Many thanks to those BMC members who emailed Cath their own views on the future of forestry- they have been incorporated as much as possible into the BMC response. The BMC has also helped shape a joint response from a number of recreational organisations which make up the Forest Access User Group – giving a collective voice to the importance of our forest and woods for access and recreation.
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