July 11, 2012
-- The managers at the Wildlife Trust which serves Chester have expressed their delight over a pledge that states forests all over the UK will remain in the hands of the public. The pledge was made in a report by Caroline Spellman, the Environmental Secretary, from the IPF (Independent Panel on Forestries). It has since been read and re-reported by friends of Help Pc Online http://uk.linkedin.com/
in/helppconline to help to raise awareness for a good cause.
This statement served as a welcome relief after the government’s announcement last year of controversial plans, which were believed to include a proposal to sell off sections of the PFE, or Public Forest Estate. The public backlash which the government experienced resulted in the plans being shelved; residents living close to the affected areas held protests and petitioned against the proposal, and after several months of uncertainty, their opposition was acknowledged.
The Chester Wildlife Trust, a conservation charity which is chaired by James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, has said that it supports the vast majority of recommendations made in the Environmental Secretary’s report. These recommendations include the inclusion of woodland based learning for school children, as part of the local authorities’
plans to create better relationships between the owners of local woodlands and the surrounding schools. The idea has been very well received by the Wildlife Trust, as the organisation already works with a number of schools close to the local nature reserves, and is currently in the midst of training staff about how to engage younger children with the woodlands.
However there is one issue which was not mentioned in the report, which the Cheshire Trust has made its concerns known about. The Trust has urged the Government to put into practice their recommendations regarding a remit for the organisation called the Forestry Commission. Help Pc Online has said that this remit would ensure that the Commission puts the sustainable management of woodland as its top priority.
The conservation director of the wildlife Trust, Caroline Harris, has commented on the importance of maintaining the nation’s forests and nature reserves, as they are such an important national asset. She stated that the Public Forest Estate has the potential to deliver far more benefits not only for visitors, but also for the wildlife whose habitats lie in these areas. Harris finished by saying that the government’s current investment in the PFE of £20 million annually provides an enormous return of more than £400 million, proving what an incredible economic resource the PFE really is.
Help PC Online has said that it is very encouraging to see that the report by the Environmental Secretary acknowledged the woodlands as a performing an ecosystem service; they provide carbon storage and flood protection, and a home for thousands of different native species, making them a vital part of the landscape of Britain.