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petition to save our forests!


By Arlene


If you have seen the previous blog and seen in the news coming out in the press that the Forestry Commission is to sell off half of it’s forests as part of the
Govts cuts to contribute towards the deficit ~ you will realise that this is not good news. This will be a devastating blow to our wildlife and once the forests are sold off into private hands with no access or to be felled or turned into money making so called “leisure activities” this will change the face of the countryside forever and not for the good.
We complain about the Amazon forests being chopped down but our forests are our green lungs and as such should be preserved for future generations to enjoy and gain benefit from as well as providing habitat for all the animals and wild flora we all like to see, much of which is endangered.
If you want to see this looked at again by the government sign the petition onthe 38 degrees site or access below~

many thanks to those who have already signed.

More blog posts by Arlene

Previous post: A trip to Heligan~ August 2010

Next post: An autumn walk with the dogs~



Thanks Arlene

27 Oct, 2010


Just voted, Arlene, thanks for bring this to our attention.

27 Oct, 2010


Same as Gee19! Thanks

27 Oct, 2010


this statement from The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust has a number of concerns over the likelihood of a substantially accelerated disposal programme of public forest land.

The Trust has long held the view that not all of existing forest estate needs to be held in public ownership, especially those sites whose purpose is primarily the production of timber, or where local community ownership is a viable option. However, if the Government is determined to be the greenest government ever then it has to find a way to secure the future of ancient woodland sites planted up with conifers over the last 60-70 years.

Their restoration is in our view the most significant opportunity open to us for improving the UK’s biodiversity. There are no mechanisms in place to guarantee that if sold to commercial or private interests that restoration will take place.

"Ancient Woodland is our richest and most fragile habitat, our equivalent of the rainforest. Restoring 20,000ha of ancient woodland would be the one of most significant contributions the UK could make to worldwide nature conservation; the proposed sell off must not become a barrier to this significant achievement." commented Sue Holden, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust.

The conifers planted in place of native woodland cover many years ago are now reaching economic maturity yet these sites are ancient woods on the brink, retaining against all odds remnants of ancient woodland plants, soils, archaeological features and veteran trees. The opportunity to restore these sites to native woodland is a once in a lifetime opportunity which must be grasped with great urgency.

If revenue from these sales does not find its way back into Forestry Commission income streams, which looks likely, it could seriously threaten FC’s ability to support the future planting of new native woodland, which is a major priority for us and for Government response to the climate change agenda, as well as into restoration of planted ancient woods.

The Trust also has concerns that not all public forest land has yet been dedicated under the Countryside and Rights of Way act 2000 for permanent public access; this applies to sites where the FC holds the leasehold rather than the freehold. Prior to disposals of land, public access needs to be safeguarded.

For more information contact:

The Woodland Trust Press Office
t:01476 581121

About Woodland Trust
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. It has 300,000 members and supporters. <br /><br />The Trust has three key aims: i) to enable the creation of more native woods and places rich in trees ii) to protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future iii) to inspire everyone to enjoy and value woods and trees<br /><br />Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free.

28 Oct, 2010


just signed Arlene, thanx for posting the blog ;o)

28 Oct, 2010


~ thought you all might like to know that Scotland and Wales own 3/4 of the Forestry Commissions land and have refused to sell any of it which means Englands forests will take the full cuts~ see this from the Telegraph~

Sure enough, as The Sunday Telegraph reported this week, ministers drew up plans to sell off half of the Forestry Commission's woodland. And they have been aiming to privatise at least some of England's 224 National Nature Reserves, the country's most important wildlife areas.

The proposals amount to the biggest change of land ownership in Britain since the Second World War, raising immediate concerns that protected woodlands would be felled to make way for golf courses, housing, adventure grounds and Center Parcs-style resorts. Vital wildlife sites would be compromised, it was feared, and private companies would be given the right to cut down trees in, for example, the New Forest, Sherwood and the Forest of Dean.

Local protests broke out. Business Secretary Vince Cable materialised from his wife's cottage in the New Forest to call for the area to be preserved as "a national resource". And, most embarrassing of all, the Welsh and Scottish administrations – who, under their devolved powers, are responsible for three quarters of the Forestry Commission's land – announced that they had no intention of privatising any, leaving only England's 258,000 hectares in play. Indeed, the plans seem to have been drawn up on the back of a recycled fag packet, perhaps discarded by Nick Clegg before coming out as a smoker on Desert Island Discs.
The Treasury has long lusted after selling off the Forestry Commission, originally formed after the First World War to guarantee a supply of pit props for the trenches. One serious attempt was made under John Major, dropped in the face of public opposition, and another was internally discussed in Labour's last years, only to be killed off by the then environment secretary, Hilary Benn.

Experts say it would need primary legislation at Holyrood, as well as Westminster, to clear the way for privatising the Commission – which, given the Scottish government's stance, is nowhere in prospect. So ministers have dropped the idea, concentrating instead just on selling much of the land. But even that is looking less and less attractive.

Officials have held talks with environmental bodies like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to try to persuade them to buy both woodlands and nature reserves, only to be told that they don't have much money and that – if they did – they would already be using it to buy land. In desperation, the Government has privately offered them to the organisations for free, only to be reminded that they cost money to run. The groups would be happy to accept the gifts if ministers paid for their upkeep, but that would rather defeat the object of the exercise.

Commercially, too, they're less attractive than first appears. Nature reserves are protected by British and European law. The Commission's last chairman – former Labour cabinet minister, Lord Clark – ensured that public access was granted "in perpetuity" over all its land. That greatly reduces its value, but would take a highly unpopular Act of Parliament to reverse.

Elderly, wealthy people could well be tempted, all the same, as forestry is exempt from inheritance tax – but the government would then lose income as a result. Pension funds might also be attracted but they, too, could get tax relief.

By yesterday, some of this had begun to sink in, not least in Downing Street. Instead of, as expected, announcing its ambitious sell-off plans, Defra issued a cautious statement pledging to "diminish public ownership" of forests while promising to "preserve their public benefits".

There is no reason why this could not be done, and done effectively. But unfortunately, the Government is also planning to emasculate Natural England, the very body whose job it would be to enforce that promise – and which protects the National Nature Reserves themselves. Under pressure, ministers make clear that they are, in part, punishing it for being too effective in criticising government in the past.

And, on Thursday, the Cabinet Office introduced a new Public Bodies Bill, enabling Whitehall to abolish or change bodies such as the Commission, without having to get full legislation through Parliament. Then it could be privatised – and public access to forests withdrawn – very much more easily. So this week's skirmishes may only be the start of a long and bloody war.

30 Oct, 2010


~ just looked and 40.000 have signed the petition on 38 degrees with lots of comments to the effect that the countryside belongs to all of us and not to the government and is therefore not theirs to sell off !

2 Nov, 2010


Hi Arlene! I have just been over to sign the petition, too. More than 58,000 signatures there now. I have posted a like on this blog, because I am so glad that you have brought this to our attention. I think that whoever thought of this one should be "sent home, to think again" !!

9 Nov, 2010


Thanks David!~ would love to see this hitting a million and soon! this has to be stopped!If ever there was a bad idea!fortunately lots of people think so!

9 Nov, 2010

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