Today (Thursday) the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath presented his ministerial statement on the Government Policy on Woodlands and Forestry. The key element is the protection of the UK’s forest and woodlands with the establishment of a new independent public body which will hold the public’s forest estate in trust for the nation.
Thetford Forest extends through the constituency of South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. Elizabeth commented: “Today’s statement is really excellent news. I had called on the previous Secretary of State for DEFRA to ensure access was maintained to our woodlands. It will provide long term protection of our forests and woodlands for future generations. I am particularly pleased that there is the emphasis on tree planting and giving greater priority to tree and plant health. Thetford Forest is a superb example of a forest which has unique bio-diversity, supports multiple recreational pursuits, attracting tourists as well sustaining commercial woodland activities.
“The statement refers to the promotion of community involvement in the management of woodlands. This is already a reality in South West Norfolk with the Friends of Thetford Forest actively engaged with the activities of the forest. There is the encouragement of more woodland based businesses like tourism and leisure. This is particularly relevant in the Brecks where the area is being promoted as a destination in its own right with Thetford Forest supporting new enterprises such as eco camping. I will be inviting the DEFRA Secretary of State to tour the forest with me to meet some of the individuals and organisations that make Thetford Forest a wonderful and unique environment, as well generating a valuable source of income for the local economy.”