Rory calls on the Government to adopt the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry (IPF)

Rory this week pushed hard for the adaptation of the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry (IPF) by the government at a well-attended Woodland Trust fringe event ‘Where next for England’s forests?’ at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

The debate was chaired by Woodland Trust President Clive Anderson and Rory spoke alongside Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP, Guy Opperman MP and Woodland Trust Chief Executive Sue Holden.

A strong consensus was met by members of the panel and delegates in the audience. In particular there was very definite support for the adoption of the Panel’s woodland creation target, to increase England’s woodland cover to 15% by 2060, and for Government to do much more to protect and restore our ancient woods.

Rory, referring to the Independent Panel Report’s findings as “highly intelligent” called for future Conservative policy to protect woodland, ensure public access and be economically viable.

He said:  “Given the importance of our Cumbrian woodlands – to our natural environment, our heritage and our future – it should come as no surprise that Cumbrians and indeed the British public reacted in the way they did to the original proposals to sell off our forests. The decision by government to enshrine our public forests as a national asset was an extremely welcome one which I wholeheartedly endorse. Much more still needs to be done however to develop a long-term strategy to managing our forests, and questions still remain over woodland creation targets and how they can be achieved whilst still supporting landscape and habitat restoration. This needs to be the next priority, and ensuring that our woodlands can co-exist and thrive alongside our other natural landscapes.”

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