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England's forests will be protected by new public body

The environment secretary confirmed the woodland estate would remain publicly owned, held in trust for future generations

Source:  Copyright 2013, Guardian
Date:  January 31, 2013
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The government will shake-up of the running of England's public forests, it announced on Thursday, after its embarrassing U-turn huge on plans to sell off the nationally owned estate.

The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, confirmed the woodland estate would remain in public ownership and said a new, independent body would be set up in the longer term to hold the nation's forests in trust for future generations.

The Forestry Commission, which currently manages the public forest estate, would be given extra funding of £3.5m this year to make up for not selling off forestry land, he said. An additional £2m has also been found from existing budgets to help the commission cope with the extra pressure of dealing with Chalara ash dieback, a disease hitting the country's ash trees. The future shape of the Forestry Commission will be considered alongside a review of Natural England and the Environment Agency.

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