Thursday, 8 December 2011

Busy DEFRA Day in the Commons

Just been in the Chamber - Defra have published today both the Water White Paper called "Water for Life" and the Independent Panel on Forestry has published its interim report - see the link below - but broadly they are very supportive of our forests:
The key page on first reading appears to be page 28:
Long term financial viability
We recognise the need to ensure the long term financial viability of all sectors of english forestry. We will look to understand how effective grant schemes have been and how they could be improved. For example,we know that there are particular challenges to financial viability for small woodlands and we are keen to address these issues especially as small woodlands play a special role in many communities. However, we have also noted that profit is not always the primary motivation, particularly for small woodland owners. Information and advice services may have an important role in helping small woodland owners both to manage their woods and access markets,as might designing grant and certification schemes that appeal more broadly. In addition we will look at the potential for additional income opportunities to enable woodland owners to benefit from the delivery of public benefits, such as carbon or flood protection.
Next steps: continuing the journey this progress report reflects the journey
of our work to date. We are excited by the challenge before us, as we work to deliver
our final report to the secretary of state next spring.
We have drawn much inspiration from the visits we have undertaken to forest and
woodland locations around the country,and we will be making further visits during
the course of our work. In addition to drawing on the call for views, we have
commissioned a variety of research reports and workshops, spanning history,
ecology and economics, which will all inform our work. We have commissioned a
review of work on access and community engagement. We will continue to meet with
different groups and test out their ideas.
We hope that this progress report helps everyone to understand more about our
work to date, our initial thoughts about the sort of vision needed for forests and woods,and therefore for forestry policy in england.
We are not specifically seeking comments on our progress report, but as ever, we
remain open to ideas and suggestions that our work may stimulate.