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Forests

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to increase public access to woodland. (235477)

The Forestry Commission aims to increase the proportion of the population in priority areas that have access to woodland within four kilometres of where they live. It has a target for an additional 750,000 people to gain access to woodland over the next three years. It will work to achieve this through the targeting of incentives available through the English Woodland Grant scheme and through partnerships. Increased public access will be provided by the opening of access to existing woodland, the creation of new woodland on agricultural land and the regeneration of derelict and unused land to woodland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to increase woodland cover in England. (235478)

Our forestry policy, ‘A Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests’, includes the objective to plant trees and create new woodland in priority places. Under the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13 we have committed to creating 15,400 hectares of new woodlands with support from the English Woodland Grant scheme administered by the Forestry Commission. In addition there will be a contribution from smaller woodlands planted as part of Environmental Stewardship, the agri-environment grant scheme administered by Natural England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals that no one should live more than 500 metres from a two hectare wood and four kilometres from a 20 hectare wood. (235479)

The Forestry Commission is utilising the Woodland Access Standard in its targeting of incentives offered for management of existing woodland and creation of new woodland under the English Woodland Grant Scheme that will increase public access. It also uses this standard to help the monitoring and evaluation of its work.