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Forest plans 'only protect half the land'

Posted 28 January 2011
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Forest plans 'only protect half the land'
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Only half of the Forestry Commission land is likely to have public access ensured after privatisation under the current plans, the Ramblers has claimed.

Having produced a series of five conditions it wants met in the event of the plans going ahead, the body has said those who like to go walking could be excluded from the 50 per cent of Forestry Commission land not classed as heritage or community woodland.

Therefore, while the Forest of Dean and possibly the Kielder Forest could remain open, many others may not and Ramblers chief executive Tom Franklin said there are many "grey areas" in the bill.

People who like to put on their walking gear and head for the forests may wish to join in the public consultation on the plans, something the Ramblers is urging.

Meanwhile, mountaineer and Lake District resident Chris Bonington has backed the campaign group Save Lakeland's Forests in its fight against the plans.

He said Britain's public forests are "much smaller" than those in other countries and should be kept out of private hands.