The Government suspended all woodland sales in February this year. As the Forestry Commission’s public records make clear, the last sales went through in April – these were already committed to before the current suspension was announced.
Until the suspension, Forestry Commission England had a programme of sales according to criteria agreed each year with Ministers. The criteria tended to keep those woodlands with highest public benefit and conservation value and selected those woodlands with lowest public benefit or that were inefficient to manage.
Most income was reinvested, although for a few years some was used as part of overall budgets. Protection exists regardless of ownership, for example through Forestry and Planning legislation and guidance. Public access dedicated under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act as well as Public Rights of Way remains.
The Indepedent Panel on Forestry is due to report next year.