Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Independent Forestry Panel
After the launch on 4th July attended the national stakeholder event on 10th. Over 100 there and considerable support for the Panel's recommendations. When we started the journey on the Panel over a year ago I would never have expected such a concensus. Remarkable. Now need to put single issue campaigns aside and work together to encourage Government to pick up the baton laid down. Interestingly, after event, Sir Harry Studholme and I attended All Party Group in Commons (House of Lords represented also) to discuss Panel's report as guests of Lord Taylor, Forestry Minister. We both had an opportunity to present the Panel's findings. My impression was that all parties were very supportive of the general themes from the report and wanted a successful outcome. Although I have no doubt that politics will play a role in due course! I await with interest the Government's response in January - this is a once in a generation opportunity for both forestry and society... Since the formation of the Forestry Commission in 1919 (Lord Clinton's great grand father was one of the original founders) in 90 years, 800 years of deforestation in England has been reversed. With c10% cover compared to c 35% in Europe we have some way to go but at least we now have renewed impetus and some clear recommendations on how we can continue the journey. At Clinton Devon we have 17% woodland cover and later this year we will be planting the first new plantation for many years - a small Jubilee Wood in Newton Poppleford.