Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
The Forestry Commission owns a substantial amount of land which is of high value for wildlife. This represents a tremendous national asset. Transfer of such land should not be rushed and should not take place before a clear policy has been established. This policy should ensure that those areas of high wildlife value – including Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Wildlife Sites – are secured in the long term. If such sites are to be transferred, the best way to guarantee their future would be to give priority to nature conservation bodies and to ensure that sites are considered as part of a local ecological network. We have a strong partnership with the Forestry Commission which we hope will continue, so we can make the most of our strong local presence.