Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Success for Kielder campaign

Kielder Forest will remain in public ownership I am pleased to say. The working forest was one of a number that was initially considered for transfer into private ownership by the Government. I opposed the move at the time and news is very welcome. Today a panel set up by Caroline Spelman, the Sectary of State for the Environment, has advised that no forests should be sold off. Speaking after considering the finding, Mrs Spelman said, "I therefore agree with the Panel that the Public Forest Estate should continue to benefit from public ownership. A well managed and publicly owned estate provides the sort of public benefits we need to protect – such as and biodiversity."
Kielder and our other forests represent the green lungs of the North East - the heart and soul of the Northumberland countryside. As well being as a significant local employer, it is key to local industry and one of the region's major tourist attractions, with over a quarter of a million visitors a year.  
I believe our forests and woodlands are at the forefront of the public's hearts and minds. I have campaigned for them to remain in public ownership and I think the Government has now got this right. It is the right thing to do.
The Government will consider the report and submit it's full response in January 2013.