I don’t often get involved in campaigns but this one is too important to pass by. You may have read in your newspaper that the government is planning to save money by changing the law to facilitate the sale of all public forests in England. The proposal has already been rejected in Wales and Scotland and I think it’s absolutely vital we achieve that in England too.
The new legislation would lead to disbanding the Forestry Commission, as there would be no more public forest for it to manage, which I can only see resulting in commercial exploitation of the forests causing enormous loss of habitat for thousands of species of plants, mammals, birds fungi etc.. The other inevitable consequence of our forests passing into private ownership would be the denial of public access to these wonderful and historic parts of our countryside.
This a dreadful piece of short termism in order to raise money now, with no coherent thought to the longer term ramifications for wildlife or people, except those who stand to make an awful lot of money for themselves from the destruction of our forests. In East Anglia the areas of forest we stand to lose include Horsford, north of Norwich, seven separate sections of forest around Thetford including Thetford Forest itself and Elvedon Fosrest, and in the south east of the region Sandlings Forest which includes Rendlesham, Tunstall and Dunwich forests.
If, like me, you want to raise your voice against this latest outrage there is a campaign with a petition which already has approximately 160 000 signatures including some very high profile people and organisations including the Woodland Trust, the Confederation of Forest Industries, the RSPB, and the Ramblers. There is lots more information about the proposals and ways to oppose them, including signing the petition at the Save Englands Forests website.
You can also follow the progress of the bill (Public Bodies Bill [HL] 2010-11) through Parliament by clicking here, and a copy of the debate in the House of Lords can be read here.
You may also be interested to know that forest is free from inheritance tax.
Please add your signature to the petition and your voice to the campaign.