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AUTHORITIES TO BENEFIT FROM FORESTRY MANAGEMENT

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The Forestry Commission will be allowed to meet legal costs incurred by local authorities in making access agreemen...
The Forestry Commission will be allowed to meet legal costs incurred by local authorities in making access agreements to forests, the government has announced.

The proposal is included in a series of measures to reform the management of forestry across Britain.

Scottish secretary Ian Lang announced £4m of new resources, new incentives for tree planting and access arrangements to be expanded and strengthened.

Mr Lang also intends that Forest Enterprise should be put on a more business-like footing and the Forestry Commission woodlands should not be privatised.

Mr Lang said: 'At this stage of their development, the Forestry Commission woodlands should remain in the public sector.

'The work of Forest Enterprise, the forest management arm of the commission, should be put on a more business-like footing. We therefore propose that it should be replaced by a new trading body, established as a Next Steps Agency.

'This trading body will still be part of the Forestry Commission but it will deal 'at arms length' with the other parts of the Commission. A chief executive will be appointed by open competition.'

On public access to forests, Mr Lang said: 'We shall be encouraging locals authorities to consider carefully the need to make access agreements when offered. We shall also make it possible for the Forestry Commission to meet legal costs incurred by local authorities in making access agreements.

Mr Lang said that grants would 'be allocated annually towards the development of the National Forest, the Central Scotland Woodlands and the various community forests to which we made a commitment in our Manifesto'.

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