Forestry U-turn ‘disappointing’, says CLA, but ‘debate is welcome’
The CLA today (17 February) said it was "disappointed" the proposed privatisation of State-owned forestry has been abandoned by the Government – but welcomed the public debate on the issue.
CLA West Midlands chief Caroline Bedell said: "It is disappointing because we are instinctively in favour of private rather than public ownership and we know that private owners can manage woodlands just as well as the State.
"We are certain there are some areas of the public forest estate that could be better managed by the private sector while still delivering a wide range of public benefits. After all, more than four-fifths of England's woods are in private ownership.
"However, we can see that society has made it absolutely clear to the Government that it wants at least a proportion of the nation's forest estate to remain in the ownership of the State and in the case of great heritage forests we believe this is right."
Mrs Bedell said the CLA, the main organisation representing private woodland owners' interests in England, "welcomed" an informed debate on the issue and looks forward to being involved in discussions on the future of forestry policy in England, announced today by Secretary of State Caroline Spelman.
She said: "Private woodland owners can and do run woodlands that provide an enormous amount of environmental and public benefits at the same time as producing wood to build and heat our homes.
"Wood products, renewable energy, carbon sequestration, water protection, biodiversity and public access and enjoyment can be provided all our by forests and woodlands. They are beautiful places that enhance our landscape, health and well-being.
"However, the provision of some of these benefits costs money, and it is important that resources are also given to the private sector to deliver more of the benefits that people value in all our woodlands."
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Caroline Bedell MRICS FAAV
Caroline leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor respected throughout the industry, she also represents the CLA on a wide range of regional committees and panels.
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