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National Forest Estate

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for a repositioning exercise of the National Forest Estate to better deliver public policy objectives. (226677)

We have no current plans to reposition the public forest estate. Any significant repositioning would require a full appraisal of the estate in the light of the new Strategy for England’s Trees Woods and Forests, published last year, and the Delivery Plan, which has been prepared by the Forestry Commission and Natural England and is due for publication soon.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria are used on the National Forest Estate for the identification of sites for disposal, retention and purchase. (226678)

Assets (woodlands and other property) that are making a relatively limited contribution to our forestry policy objectives and where there are limited public benefits are sold. The resulting funds are reinvested in forestry policy priorities such as community woodlands around our cities, improved recreation facilities and habitat restoration. This reinvestment is often made in projects where there is additional support and funding from partners.

Land purchases occur where opportunities arise to enable the Forestry Commission to secure high levels of public benefit. For example, the purchase of freeholds that will increase public access or the creation of new community woodlands close to where people live.