Letter: Woodlands for all

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The Independent Online
Letter: Woodlands for all

Sir: Publication by the Forestry Commission of a new standard for managing Britain's woodland (report, 22 January) is an important step forward for environmentally friendly forestry. But it is regrettable that the standard does not insist upon public access to publicly subsidised woodlands.

If it is true that private landowners would rather not accept grants to create new woodland than do so subject to allowing public access, then the answer to the question of how woodland cover in Britain can be expanded is clear.

The Treasury's annual handout of pounds 33m in planting grants should be transferred from the private sector to the Forestry Commission. Let the commission create the new woodlands that successive governments have aimed for and that the public clearly wants.

The commission has never had any hang-ups about giving people freedom to roam through its woodlands. They do this on a large scale and find it conflicts not at all with the commission's other functions, such as producing timber and protecting wildlife.


Director, The Ramblers' Association

London SW8