WALES: Labour uproots its own woodland policy - Bates
Mick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Countryside spokesperson today commented on back-tracking by the Labour government in allowing a situation to develop where ancient native woodland is being put at risk due to lack of restoration efforts.
Mr Bates said; 'We have a duty to the landscape and to future generations to ensure that Wales' unique ancient and native forestry is preserved and restored; conservation commitments made when we were in partnership government are now being back-tracked on by the Labour Assembly Government'.
Approximately 48 per cent of the ancient woodland surviving in Wales have been planted up with non-native trees, creating a plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites. A situation now exists that has dire consequences for wildlife, with entire fragile ecosystems being devastated, says a Woodland Trust statement this week. Over half of Welsh woodland is managed by the Forestry commission, and is a direct responsibility of the Assembly.
"I believe the Minister has a duty to investigate the Woodland Trusts' allegations and reassess how the Labour Government manages its forestry resources,' said Mr Bates, 'We are a small nation that is economically dependant on the quality of our environment and we must act to preserve our ancient and native woodland a s a matter of urgency'.
Notes to Editors:
- At the last Assembly Elections the Welsh Liberal Democrat Manifesto specifically took account of the changes in the management of Welsh woodland and maintained that Wales should; encourage the natural regeneration of forestry instead of replanting with coniferous after clearfelling, give a special status to ancient semi-natural woodlands and ensure that, by 2025, most trees under the Assembly's ownership should be of native origin.