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The Future of the Public Forest Estate in England, A Public Consultation

On Thursday 27 January 2011, the Government launched a twelve-week public consultation on proposals for a new approach to ownership and management of the Public Forest Estate in England.

The Government remains committed to shifting the balance of power from ‘Big Government’ to ‘Big Society’ and for forestry this means securing greater public involvement in the ownership and/or stewardship of England’s public forests. The proposals set out in the consultation will do this and create a far greater role for civil society, businesses and individuals.

The Government recognises that there is not a ‘one size fits all solution’ and therefore the proposals are for a “mixed model” approach to the future ownership and management of the Public Forest Estate to secure their public benefits for the long-term which could include:


  •  Inviting new or existing charitable organisations, to take on ownership or management of the heritage forests (like the New Forest and the Forest of Dean);
  •  Creating opportunities for community and civil society groups to buy or lease forests that they wish to own or manage;
  •  Finding commercial operators to take on long-term leases for the large-scale commercially valuable forests. By leasing rather than selling, it will be possible to ensure that these forests continue to deliver public benefits through lease conditions.


The consultation document can be found on the Defra website at:


The following link will take you to the online survey:


We will be holding open Public Information Drop-In sessions at the locations
and dates shown below.


  •  Verderer’s Court, Lyndhurst, New Forest: Monday 7th March, 1500-2000
  •  Verderer’s Court, Lyndhurst, New Forest: Saturday 12th March, 1400-1830
  •  Forestry Commission Wareham Office, Wareham, Dorset: Wednesday 16th March, 1500-2000
  • Moors Valley Country Park Visitor Centre, nr. Ringwood: Saturday 19th March, 1400-1800


These Public Information Drop-In sessions are open to anyone and aim to provide an informal opportunity for people to obtain information after which they can respond individually to the consultation as above.


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