Strategy launched to protect English forests

Government promises review of environmental protection measures for ancient woods

The UK government has pledged to review the state of England's forests under a 5-10 year strategy launched yesterday. Similar strategies are on the cards for Scotland and Wales. Forestry minister Elliot Morley said the English strategy aimed to realise forestry's full potential for supporting rural development, economic regeneration, recreation and the environment. The government plans to review the effectiveness of existing measures for protecting ancient semi-natural woodlands and to introduce new protection if necessary. It wants to see the development of long-term plans to guide woodland management and to encourage the replacement of woodland lost to development. It also wants to establish a monitoring framework specifically for woodland habitats and species alongside a general national inventory of English woodland. The UK Timber Growers Association welcomed the strategy for moving beyond regulation to recognising and aiming to encourage the sector's contribution to the economy. "At a time when timber prices are at such a low ebb it is a struggle to keep our woods in good heart," the association said.

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