Growing anger over a planned sell-off of publicly owned forests has forced ministers to postpone the plan.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman yesterday said the sale of 15 per cent of English woodland would not now take place until protections were “significantly” strengthened. The U-turn follows a growing revolt in Tory shires since the Government published its proposals last month to offload the forests to timber companies, charities and local communities.
Fears of damage to wildlife and a loss of access were raised when plans were outlined to dispose of England’s 258,000-hectare public forest estate over the next 10 years. The woodland is currently managed by the Forestry Commission.