01 marzo 2012

Los recortes ponen en riesgo a los bosques públicos de Reino Unido

Public forests are 'under threat again'

CAMPAIGNERS in the Lake District have issued a new warning that public forests are once again under threat.

Save Lakeland’s Forests and Friends of the Lake District say swingeing cuts are undermining the Forestry Commission and threatening the future of the woodlands that hundreds of thousands of people fought to preserve.

They say that one of the areas hardest hit is the commission’s wildlife work, with a cut of one in five wildlife rangers across the country. In the Northern region, which includes the Lake District, the number of wildlife rangers has been cut from 16 to 13. Lord Clark of Windermere, a former chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “The Forestry Commission’s wildlife rangers do invaluable work to improve the biodiversity of our public forests.

“In the Lake District and Kielder that includes projects that have seen the return of ospreys and red kites, as well as the ongoing battle to save our native red squirrels.

“We showed last year that the Forestry Commission was costing just 30p for every taxpayer. That is a small price for preserving and enhancing these magnificent green spaces for people to enjoy today and for the benefit of future generations.”

Another concern raised by local activists is the impact of the cuts on the Forestry Commission’s ability to stop tree diseases spreading across the country and doing untold damage to forests and woodlands.

Campaigners are also worried the Forestry Commission is closing down its education services across most of the country.

The Forestry Panel, set up by the Government to look at the future of the country’s forests, is due to visit the Lake District on March 7. One of the issues they will be considering is whether the commission should be given more freedom to raise money commercially and by charitable donations.

Jack Ellerby, from Friends of the Lake District, said stable core Government funding would offer a new way forward. He pointed out that British Waterways, shortly to become the Canals and Rivers Trust, was to get £800 million over the next 15 years.

Exactly a year ago the Government abandoned the consultation on selling off public forests after a massive public outcry.

A spokesperson for DEFRA said: “The Natural Environment White Paper clearly expressed our support for more woodland creation, better management of existing woods, and restoration of plantations on ancient woodland.

“We have asked the Independent Panel on Forestry to look at forestry policy and the role of the Forestry Commission and we look forward to their final recommendations on how more woodland can be created and existing woodland better managed.”

fuente: thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk

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