penrith and the border forestry advisory panel

Rory held a meeting on Saturday with key constituency figures from the forestry and woodlands sector, to discuss strengthening Penrith and the Border’s input into the government’s Independent Forestry Panel, currently formulating its advice to the Secretary of State to be presented in Spring 2012. At the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the voluntary sector, education, industry and the public sector, issues such as increasing woodland cover, enhancing public benefits and biodiversity, mitigating environmental damage and exploring ways to support sustainable timber operations were all discussed in detail.

Rory said: “I believe we have a great need here in Penrith and the Border to develop our own balanced and evidenced response to feed into the ongoing Independent Forestry Panel’s investigations. I am extraordinarily lucky to have in my constituency a wealth of expertise and knowledge about our forests and woodlands in the form of industry – such as AW Jenkinsons’ Forest Products – in education at Newton Rigg, and in both the public and voluntary sectors. We have decided to form a flexible constituency panel of our own to collate evidence and thinking around our position on issues affecting forestry and woodlands here in north Cumbria. It’s vital that I take to the Government our views on the future potential of the Public Forest Estate, and fight for the best possible outcomes for our forests and woods. I encourage constituents to write to me with their views, as I know that this is a subject that many hold very close to their hearts, as do I.”

The Independent Panel on Forestry has been set up to advise the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England, and to advise the Forestry Commission in implementing policy on forestry and woodland in England. The Panel is expected to engage and take evidence from the widest range of views possible, and is expected to report in April 2012, with a progress report in the Autumn of 2011.

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