From the DEFRA website – their press release from earlier today
Public forestry estate consultation- myths busted
Published on Tuesday 18 January 2011 at 12:25pm
The myth: A journalist blog on the Guardian website once again makes the claim that all of England’s public forest estate will be sold off and that access will be denied.
The truth: Protecting the environmental and public benefits of all of England’s woodland, not just the 18% which comprises the public forest estate, is not dependent on public ownership. The legal safeguards that protect all woodlands from development will remain irrespective of who owns them.
We can also lay to rest this myth that access rights will be lost. They will not. Access rights will remain.
The interest this has generated clearly shows that the public care about the country’s forests. We do too and that is why protection will be in place for the many plants and species that call them home and for the public to continue to enjoy. We urge anyone with an interest in this issue to wait for the consultation to be published and see our plans in full and not base views on uninformed blogs or stories in the media.
The Sunday Times article from the 16th January (highlights of which can be found on Save Britain’s Forests) has already pointed out that public forestry land recently sold has already had access restrictions placed on them, eg. Riggs Wood in Cumbria.
How can DEFRA say access will not be denied?
ADDITION: For a more comprehensive busting of DEFRA’s myths please visit Save Our Forests – DEFRA: Myth busting?