The Independent Forestry Panel was set up in 2011 to advise the Government on the ownership and management of English forests following the public outcry over plans to sell off the English Forestry Commission forests. That panel has now reported and the recommendations are helpful.
In its final report the panel recognises the high value of these woods for recreation, and recommends that they should continue to be publicly owned and managed for timber, recreation and conservation, and that this is best achieved if the Forestry Commission is managed as a trust on behalf of the nation.
The Government has welcomed the report, indicating that it is minded to retain forests in public ownership. A formal response expected in January 2013.