Campaigners joy after forest victory

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THE FUTURE of forests and woodland near the Whitby area are more certain after a government u-turn.

It was announced on Thursday that plans to sell off the beauty spots to private bidders and local groups had been scrapped because of the level of public opposition.

Whitby’s local MP Robert Goodwill admitted that the government had mis-understood the public feeling.

He added that the government was now looking at the positives of the consultation and how to go forward.

Mr Goodwill told the Gazette: “We have formally ended the consultation on the future of the public forestry estate but we are setting up a panel of independent experts who will advise the government about the future of forests and ways to protect public access and benefits.

“It was a genuine consultation not just a consultation where the government had made its mind up and doing it as a window dressing.

“The government has realised very quickly it has got it wrong, we are sorry and misunderstood the level of public concern. We will go back and take some advice as to how we move forward.

“Looking at my post bag I did have a lot of letters on this. The majority weren’t raising concerns about the consultation they were talking about selling the forests with no safeguarding but that was never the intention.”