Defra has published the first of what it says will be a series of short public surveys designed to help it develop its response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s (IPF) report, published last month. The Woodland Trust is encouraging people to respond as soon as possible given that the survey, which marks the next step in the process of Government making decisions around the future of England’s forests, woods and trees, does not have a deadline.
Woodland Trust Chief Executive, Sue Holden, said: “Following the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report, which clearly documented the enormous potential of forests, woods and trees and highlighted a real need to increase woodland cover in England, the Government is now offering everyone the chance to shape its plan for the sustainable management of our forests. I would encourage all who care about the future of England’s woodland, including the woods and trees in their neighbourhood, to respond to this survey as a matter of priority. It is vital that we all play our part, keeping pressure on Government to deliver a plan for our woodland that works.”
Defra asks in the survey:
1. Do you want to see more woodland created in or near to your local community?
2. If yes, what single thing would make the biggest difference to increasing the amount of woodland in or near your community?
3. What would encourage you to visit local woodland more?
Woodland Trust position:
The Woodland Trust strongly supports the IPF’s call for a major expansion of woodland across England and wants those new woods to be well-positioned and accessible to deliver real benefits for people and the environment. Currently, less that 15% of people in England have a wood they can walk in close to where they live, as defined by Woodland Access Standard (WASt)1. The Woodland Trust would like to see a bold national target to increase this percentage significantly within a defined timescale. In line with such a target, the Government should continue to target grant aid to prioritise the creation of new publicly accessible woodland close to large centres of population.
The future of England’s forest’s woods and trees is still in question. Play your part in ensuring its future by filling in the survey at http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/forestry/survey/