Letter from Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper – 28th Feb 2011

FORESTRY consultation ends and forestry clauses will be removed from the Public Bodies Bill

You have written to me previously regarding your concerns about the Forest of Dean. I thought you might appreciate an update following the Statement made by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman MP, in the House of Commons on 17th February.

In her statement the Secretary of State announced that the Government will remove the forestry clauses from the Public Bodies Bill, end the consultation on the future of the Public Forest Estate and set up a panel of independent experts to advise the government on the future of forestry and woodland policy with better protection for access and other public benefits from our woodlands.

You can read the statement in full at http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/02/17/futureforestry

I know from my own postbag and from listening to constituents that the public were not happy with what was proposed. I told those who attended the public meeting I held recently that ministers would listen to the consultation. The early responses to that consultation were clear so we listened and acted promptly.

That is a welcome difference from the sham consultation on Post Office closures which took place under the last Government and which generated my biggest ever postbag but went ahead anyway.

The forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill have also fuelled concern in the Forest of Dean so I am pleased to see that they are being removed by the Government.

I hope that you will welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement.

Yours sincerely

Mark Harper MP

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