Ex-Tory minister who tried to sell off forests is given Natural England role

Appointment of Dame Caroline Spelman to nature watchdog’s board sparks cronyism allegations

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A former Tory minister who tried to sell off England’s forests has been appointed to the board of Natural England, leading Labour to accuse the government of “cronyism”.

Dame Caroline Spelman has been given a senior role with the government’s nature watchdog and will set its strategy and policy, as well as overseeing the use of public money. Other trustees announced on Friday include Mel Austen, a professor of ocean and society at the University of Plymouth, and Lynn Dicks, who leads a research group working on sustainable agriculture and insect conservation.

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