Bishop Speaks on Forests

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones has expressed his personal delight at the government’s response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones has expressed his personal delight at the government’s response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report. In a speech to open a debate on Forestry in the House of Lords the Bishop said “the Government is to be congratulated on responding constructively to the mood of the nation expressed so vociferously and articulated and so cogently.”

The Bishop paid tribute to the 42,000 people who made submissions to the Panel stating the “national psyche recognised that trees are essential to life”. He also praised the panel of experts who were "all united in a determination to lay before the government and the people the clearest signposts for a new public policy on forests and woodlands that would serve the country for the next century.”

Bishop James highlighted several reasons for a new national policy. These include:-
  • the importance of forests and woodlands as the country’s largest leisure facility with 300 million visits a year
  • the fact our ancient woodlands are a priceless asset integral to our cultural heritage
  • that wildlife is affected directly by woodland management
  • that research is needed on disease and pest control to manage a serious cross border threat
  • that trees deliver clean water air contributing to a low carbon culture
  • that public and private investment is needed for forest expansion and better management
  • The Bishop welcomed the establishment of a new and evolved body to succeed the Forestry Commission stating it will have important freedoms – from the short term political cycle; to be entrepreneurial and maximise the potential of its assets; to create woodland nearer to where people are not least in and around urban areas.

Concluding his speech Bishop James said “the voices of the people showed how fertile England is for trees; the Independent Panel prepared the ground; the Government’s response is like a planted sapling; the water to make it grow must be a political consensus and will be to ensure that it happens”.