Forests sale 'within four years'
Sales of 15% of England's public forests will go ahead within the next four years, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said today.
The sales, expected to raise £100 million for the Environment Department (Defra), were suspended amid a row over plans to dispose of the rest of the forest estate.
Mrs Spelman said she was concerned the terms of selling the 15% - the maximum allowed to be sold under current rules - did not provide adequate protection for access and other public benefits.
But she told MPs on the Environment Select Committee that the sales would go ahead within the spending review, which runs to 2015, and the delay would not hit Defra's budget.
She said the funding had been "anticipated but not allocated".
And once protection for access and other benefits of woodland had been addressed, "the planned sales will be in a position to resume within the period of the spending review, and won't have an impact on expenditure", she said.
The Environment Secretary also defended the consultation on plans to dispose of the remainder of the public forest estate to businesses, charities and communities which provoked widespread anger.
She said previous governments had already been selling off the public forests.
"I simply thought it was right to give the public the chance to be consulted about the future of the forest estate."
The consultation was abandoned last month in the face of widespread opposition to the plans.
Shortly before the consultation was dropped, the previously announced sales of 15% of public forests were suspended over concerns about protecting the benefits they provide.
An independent panel has now been set up to examine the future of England's forests.
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 4 Yes, the iPhone 6 is a miracle, but it's Apple's tax affairs that deserve a double take
Isis could become 'world’s first truly terrorist state' and bomb UK with nuclear and chemical weapons, Theresa May warns
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...
Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...