England’s public forests will not be sold off and a new, independent body will be formed to maintain and safeguard the public forest estate, the Government has announced.

The Government planned to sell off public forests two years ago but ditched the idea after 500,000 people signed a petition opposing the move.

Environment secretary Owen Paterson said the new body “will have greater freedom to manage its resources and maximise its income” than the current set-up.

The Government has also promised to spend more money on forests — an extra £3.5million will go to the Forestry Commission next year to make up for the funds that would have comefrom sales of woodland. An extra £2million will also help the ash dieback outbreak. But the future of stalking on Forestry Commission land is still undecided.

The rest of this article appears in the 6th February issue of Shooting Times.

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