East Suffolk: Fate of Suffolk’s forest’s should be known next week

THE fate of Suffolk’s woodlands should become clearer next week with the publication of a long- awaited report.

The independent Forestry Panel is set to release its findings on Wednesday.

The body was set up 15 months ago to consider the future of England’s forests and woods after the Government was forced to shelve its hugely unpopular plans to privatise Forestry Commission-owned land.

It meant the future of the Sandlings Forests in east Suffolk – which includes Rendlesham, Tunstall and Dunwich – was under threat.

The plans provoked a fierce backlash from members of the public.

Feelings came to a head in Suffolk at an extremely heated meeting in Rendlesham with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey.

The Forestry Panel produced a progress report in December in which it confirmed a continuing role for the national public forest estate, arguing it delivers many benefits for people, nature and the economy.

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For its final report, the panel is discussing how these benefits can be secured for future generations and how more woodlands can be created and brought into management across England.

Among those to submit its views to the Forestry Panel was campaign group Save Sandlings Forests.

Member Imogen Radford said: “We put in a submission to the panel’s ‘call for views’ and we attended their visit to East Anglia in March this year.

“Following that visit we sent the panel a final submission urging them to keep the public forest estate publicly owned and managed by a properly resourced Forestry Commission that can continue carrying out multi-purpose forestry and providing support for all forests and woods.

“We will respond as soon as we have been able to see the panel’s report on July 4.”

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