Confor has welcomed the interim report of an independent panel set up to examine the future of England’s public forestry estate.

Carolin Harrison, Confor’s England manager said she was delighted that many of Confor’s key policy issues had been taken on board.

The report’s main points include the importance of supporting a successful forest-based industry, including tackling future wood supply, the opportunity provided by planting softwoods as well as hardwoods and the need for financial stability, including for new woodland.

The forest panel, set up by secretary of state Caroline Spelman during the public outcry over consultation on plans to sell off public forestlands, will release a final report of recommendations next spting.

“Clearly, there is a lot of time and work between now and the final report, expected in the spring,” added Ms Harrison.

“However, if the panel builds on these points we could see final recommendations that, if delivered, would make a material difference to sustainable forestry and wood-using businesses in England.”