Letter: Woodland secrets

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Sir: Rupert Cornwell describes how President Clinton will deal with the conflict of environmental and timber interests focused by an endangered owl in Portland, Oregon ('Clinton seeks to smooth ruffled feathers in Pacific's forest war', 2 April). His intention to 'seek to understand', via 'three round tables', contrasts dramatically and regrettably with our government's procedure in an analogous situation.

Here, 'a small group of officials' are to review 'options for the ownership and management of Forestry Commission woodlands' (Reference: Secretary of State for Scotland's response to a planted question by David Knox MP, 30 March). The names of the review group are not being released and no opportunity has been given for constructive input nor consultation by the many interest groups crucially involved - not to mention the 50 million visitors who may be fearful for the continuation of the right to roam in the woodlands.

Yours sincerely,



North Yorkshire

5 April

The writer is the former Director of the North England Region of the Forestry Commission.