Monday, 30 May 2011

Save Sherwood Forest - Fears for county woodland as more cash axed (Sherwood Pines)

MAJOR spending cuts announced by the Forestry Commission will have significant effects on Notts' woodlands, campaigners claim.

The Government cut the commission's funding by 25 per cent as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review. Now, it has been announced that 250 jobs will go nationally and services will be taken further away from the communities they serve.

In Notts, the Forestry Services office at Sherwood Pines will close, with grants to be administrated more centrally.

The Forestry Enterprise office at Sherwood survives but becomes responsible for a much larger area, including Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire coast.

Campaigners say this means staff will lose touch with local farmers and landowners, while woodland in private ownership will deteriorate and public access could be lost.

Paddy Tipping, of the Save Sherwood Forest Campaign, said: "This Government is supposed to be committed to localism but is now withdrawing local services. With such huge areas to be covered, Forestry Commission staff will be out of touch with the communities and environments they serve."

The number of Community Rangers – who work with local groups enhancing the environment – will be cut from four to two in Notts and educational work undertaken by the commission is under review.

Mr Tipping said: "Last year, 40,000 young people visited Sherwood Pines. We need to be encouraging youngsters to get out and value their environment."


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