4 July 2012
The Independent Panel on Forestry's final report published today recommends that the public forest estate "should remain in public ownership and be defined in statute as land held in trust for the nation".
The union, which represents more than 900 members in the Forestry Commission, joined the outpouring of anger against the government's initial proposals in October 2010.While there is other welcome news in the report around improving access for the public and developing the green economy, the union has concerns over the suggested break-up of the commission.
Staff fear that moving the public forest estate into a trust risks undermining democratic accountability and would mean their loss of civil service status.In light of the report the 25% cut to the commission's budget, announced in the government's 2010 spending review, should now be reversed the union says.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The country was united in anger and opposition to the first ill-thought out and clearly politically-motivated plan to privatise our public forests.
"We hope now the government will reverse its damaging budget cuts and talk to us about how best to ensure our forests are protected and developed so they can be enjoyed for generations to come."