The Government is considering scrapping plans to sell many of England's nature reserves following a growing backlash against its proposed sale of all state-owned forests.
Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, had been planning to dispose of the 140 national nature reserves controlled by Natural England, the conservation agency.
These include iconic sites such as The Lizard in Cornwall and Lindisfarne in Northumberland.
But she told The Sunday Times: "Officials and Natural England have been scoping a range of options but ministers have decided that the [reserves] will remain in public ownership."
Ms Spellman denied that the Government was also planning to backtrack on its forest proposals, saying the consultation was still active.