Monday, 1 November 2010

"No forest sale" says Scottish Government

Media reports claiming that the majority of Britain's national forests are to be sold off are "total nonsense and wide of the mark" Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said today.
Speaking at the annual Scottish Forestry Forum in Battleby, she said:
"These reports show a very clear misunderstanding of the devolved nature of forestry across Britain.
"Forestry policy has been a devolved matter since April 2003. It is quite clearly a matter for Scottish Ministers to determine the future of Forestry Commission Scotland and the national forest estate in Scotland - it is certainly not a decision for Westminster.
"There may be a review of forestry in England but that does not include Scotland. This review has no remit whatsoever north of the border.
"We are certainly living in very difficult and challenging times and with swingeing cuts being imposed on Scotland we need to plan carefully for this.
"The Scottish Government is continuing to look for opportunities to simplify and streamline public bodies in Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland, along with other public bodies, will be part of that ongoing process.
"However, let me be quite clear, we have no plans to dispose of the national forest estate in Scotland and there is no review of Forestry Commission Scotland being undertaken.
"I do have considerable concerns over the review of Forestry Commission England and its potential impact in Scotland therefore I have written to my counterparts in England and Wales to suggest a meeting to discuss issues surrounding forestry.
"The Scottish Government views Scotland's forests as a source of national pride and an important public asset which can help deliver many benefits in economic, environmental and social terms."

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