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WALES: Labour uproots its own woodland policy - Bates

January 13, 2004 12:00 AM

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: