Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Right Call on Forests

I welcome the Governments decision to listen to our concerns which I have expressed myself both in the House and directly to Ministers on the forests consultation.

What a welcome change to have a government that actually listens. This is the right decision for our forests. The government has listened to the feedback on this important issue, and are acting on that feedback by doing three things:

Removing the clauses from the Public Bodies Bill which would permit publicly owned forests to be transferred into different ownership.
Closing the consultation on the Future of the Public Forestry Estate.
Setting up a panel of independent experts to consider how we can better protect our woodlands for the future as part of broader forestry policy.

As I hope most of you will be aware, I have campaigned vigorously for the most rigorous protection measures to be applied to Kielder - so vital to our area. I said on Tyne tees last week I was confident the Government would listen - well I'm pleased to be able to say thats exactly what they have done.

Its not often a Minister gets up and says I'm sorry we got this wrong. Well done to Caroline for doing just that today.