§ Baroness Gould of Potternewton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they intend to prepare a forestry strategy for England. [HL807]
§ The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue)
Last year, the Government published an analysis of the responses to the discussion paper onWoodland Creation: Needs and Opportunities in the English Countryside. We said then we are committed to increasing the area of woodland in England, and many of the responses to the discussion paper agreed that a forestry strategy would help us implement this policy 132WA more effectively. We have therefore asked the Forestry Commission, in liaison with other relevant government departments and agencies, to prepare a forestry strategy for England. This will set out the Government's priorities and programmes for the creation and management of woods and forests in England. It will help set the context for further work by the Forestry Commission and other organisations aimed at realising the diverse benefits that well planned and managed woodlands can deliver.
We have asked the Forestry Commission to report to my honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary by the end of July, and expect to publish our priorities and programmes for forestry in the autumn. We have also decided to set up an English Forestry Forum after the forestry strategy has been published. The forum will advise on implementation of the strategy. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary shall chair the forum, which will meet twice a year and which will be run along similar lines to the Agri-Environment Forum which has been operating successfully for a number of years.