Sherwood Pines jobs are under threat

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JOBS at the Forestry Commission’s local headquarters at Sherwood Pines Forest Park are under threat because of Government cuts to its budget nationwide.

Ministers have told the Forestry Commission to reduce its budget by 25 per cent by 2015 and with a large part of its spending going on staffing costs, jobs are set to be lost.

In Nottinghamshire, the Forestry Services office at Sherwood Pines is to close, with grants and licences - such as felling licences and the English Woodland Grant Scheme - to be administrated more centrally.

The Forestry Enterprise office at Sherwood - which deals with the land management side of the woodlands - is surviving the cuts, but will become responsible for a much larger area.

Jo Atkinson, district forester for recreation at Sherwood Pines, said: “At the moment we have got around 66 people working here and we will be expecting to have between eight and 10 job losses from this office in a variety of roles.

“Sherwood will stay as a main office for the land management side of things but will not stay as a main office for grants and licences.”

The number of community rangers, the people who work with local groups to enhance woodland, is also set to be cut in Nottinghamshire and members of the Save Sherwood Forest campaign are concerned about the effects all of these cuts will have on access to woodlands and the way they are managed.

Campaign member and former MP Paddy Tipping said: “The Government is forcing the commission to make savings it will eventually regret.

“Earlier this year, in response to a huge public outcry, the Government backed off from its plans to sell our forests. Instead it set up an independent expert panel to make recommendations about future forestry policy.

“Their report is expected next spring. Instead of making hasty and ill-informed decisions now, the Government should wait for that report.”