YORKSHIRE Wildlife Trust (YWT) has welcomed Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman’s pledge that British forests will remain public property.
Ms Spelman had wanted to sell off some of the UK woodlands but was forced into a u-turn following huge public opposition to the plan.
YWT welcomed the decision which followed a report from an independent panel of forestry which recommended woodlands remain public property.
But YWT has urged the Government to adopt the panel’s recommendations to give people’s enjoyment of woodlands and sustainable woodland management a higher priority.
YWT Chief Executive Rob Stoneman said: “We want to see stronger protection for existing woodlands, especially ancient woodlands, and more urgency in the restoration of open habitats.
“We believe areas of lowland heathland, meadow and other internationally important open habitats planted with conifers should be restored with urgency.
“It is critical that the Government takes this opportunity to release this potential within the Public Forest Estate”.