The consultation on the future management of the Public Forest Estate has been halted and all forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill will be removed, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman confirmed today.
Mrs Spelman also announced that an independent panel of experts will examine forestry policy in England and report back to her in the autumn.
Speaking in the House of Commons the Environment Secretary said;
"I would first like to say that I take full responsibility for the situation that brings me before the House today.
"Let me make it clear that we have always placed the highest priority on preserving access and protecting our forests. But the forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill, published well before we launched the consultation, gave the wrong impression as to the Government's intentions.
"That is why I am today announcing three steps which will allow for more measured and rational debate about the future direction of forestry policy.
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