Forests Handed over to New Management Agency

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Byline: Andrew Forgrave Rural Affairs Editor

WALES' public forests are to undergo their biggest management shake-up for almost a century.

Forestry Enterprise, the UK-wide agency responsible for the administration of woodlands, is to be replaced by devolved bodies for England, Wales and Scotland.

It is hoped the new devolved agencies - yet to be named - will bring an end to crossborder confusion and provide a regional focus.

In Wales the National Assembly will now hope it can implement its Woodland Strategy more effectively.

Changes are also likely to introduced this autumn to the Forestry Commission, which creates policy for the preservation of British woodlands.

The Commission - set up in 1919 - will be given greater board level representation by the devolved administrations.

Rural Development Minister Michael German announced the shake-up. ``These changes show devolution working in practice,'' he said. ``For the first time, Wales has not only its own public forests, but also a team of experts dedicated to ensuring they are well managed and meet the needs of Wales. …