The planning and management of wild boar numbers in the Forest of Dean is being exposed to an increased level of public scrutiny following a “landmark ruling” by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) making the verderers of the forest subject to freedom of information legislation.
As a result of the ruling, the verderers have been instructed to release information about their July 2012 decision to support a “massive increase” in the target population of wild boar, according to a statement released by the Forest of Dean Wildlife Protection Group.
The group is seeking an explanation of why a decision was taken at that time to support an increase in the target boar population in the forest from 90 to 400 animals. The latest figures, of course, show that numbers are now in excess of 1000.
“Once the verderers release the requested information, we will be able to establish whether they made a balanced judgement based on sound information and wide consultation, or made an irrational decision that has resulted in escalating and avoidable harm and damage,” said the protection group’s spokesman, Hywel Jones.
“Unless the verderers appeal against the ICO decision, this ruling means that they must, in future, respond to all reasonable requests for environmental information within 20 days. This is good news for all those who expect good governance and transparency when it comes to decisions about the sustainability of the forest.”
The verderers have 35 days to comply with the IOC decision or face contempt of court charges in the High Court.
Headline image shows wild boar in the Forest of Dean