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Forest row minister axed

Posted 4 September 2012
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Forest row minister axed
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The cabinet minister who sparked a row over the future of England's forests has been replaced in the government's reshuffle.

Caroline Spelman, who as environment secretary proposed the sell-off of Forestry Commission land, has been replaced by former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson.

Mr Paterson, a keen horse rider who also lists "trees" among his interests, will have responsibility for making decisions on the recommendations of the Forestry Panel set up by Ms Spelman after she abandoned the sell-off plans last year.

The panel recently argued for Forestry Commission land to be placed in trust to protect it for the future, something those who like to go walking in the woods might welcome.

It also called for the proportion of England covered by forest to rise from ten per cent to 15 per cent, as well as the possibility of incentives for private woodland owners to open these up to public access - something around a third of them were open to.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801442444-ADNFCR