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Government response to public forest report expected

The Government is expected to set out its response to the report from the Independent Panel on Forestry today.

The panel were set up to consider the future of England's woodlands, following the outcry over the Government's proposals to dispose of publicly-owned woodlands to businesses, communities and charities.

The Forest of Dean, one of the the country's heritage woodlands which could be affected by the Government's plans Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive

The report urged the Government to put more resources into England's public forests, for all the health and recreation benefits they provided to the public.

It accused ministers of cutting funding for public forests from £20 million to less than £13 million by 2015.

Shepton Mallet prison to close under 'super-prison' plans

Six prisons across the UK to close under 'super-prison' plans Credit: PA

The Ministry of Justice has said that Shepton Mallet in Somerset is one of six prisons that will close in England under plans to build a so-called super-prison.

It's the oldest working prison in the country.

Some 2,600 offenders are held at the prisons targeted for closure, plus three sites which will be partially shut down.

Prisons at Bullwood Hall, Canterbury, Gloucester, Kingston, Shepton Mallet and Shrewsbury will close, while Chelmsford, Hull and Isle of Wight will see some accommodation reduced.

A feasibility study on what would be Britain's largest prison in London, the North West or North Wales, holding more than 2,000 prisoners, is also to begin, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

Government to close Shepton Mallet prison

The Government has announced Shepton Mallet prison in Somerset is one of several prisons to be closed across the country.

It's part of programme to update Britain’s prison estate and is part of the Government’s drive to build new capacity to replace older prisons and so bring down the cost of operating the prison system.

It is expected to save £63 million a year.


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