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Old Friday 29th October 2010, 20:14   #1
turkish van
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Forestry Commission land sell-off

So after the days of press and speculation, Defra has today released a statement confirming plans to sell off Forestry Commission land in England.

According to the Government,

"We will not compromise the protection of our most valuable and biodiverse forests. Full measures will remain in place to preserve the public benefits of woods and forests under any new ownership arrangements. Tree felling is controlled through the licensing system managed by the Forestry Commission, public rights of way and access will be unaffected, statutory protection for wildlife will remain in force and there will be grant incentives for new planting that can be applied for. "

But who actually has much faith left in them...

The positive side is this could be a great opportunity for more land and woodlands to be well managed in the hands of conservation groups or like-minded bodies and individuals. Let's hope we don't lose too much of what's left to private businesses with other priorities.

Petition against the plans started a few days ago is here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/s...rests#petition .
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Old Saturday 6th November 2010, 19:05   #2
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Thanks for posting, Laura. Have signed the petition.

I've always been hugely impressed with the work of the Forestry Commission, and in particular their provision of access for recreational use and enjoyment. I dread to think how that would change with these assets in private hands.

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Old Sunday 7th November 2010, 19:43   #3
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Originally Posted by bitterntwisted View Post
Thanks for posting, Laura. Have signed the petition.

I've always been hugely impressed with the work of the Forestry Commission, and in particular their provision of access for recreational use and enjoyment. I dread to think how that would change with these assets in private hands.

Graham
Agree wholeheartedly (and not just because I used to work for the FC). Petition signed and bandied around Facebook.
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Old Monday 8th November 2010, 10:50   #4
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"No compromise on the protection of...." will very soon become "...of course, a balance needs to be struck between the interests of..."

Business exploits resources, that's what they do.
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Old Monday 8th November 2010, 14:29   #5
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Signed the petition without having to consider the pros and cons ( if there are any ).... Thank you Laura for flagging this up.
George Schaller wasn't that far off the mark when he said -
" Sustainable means, what the market, not the earth, will bear."

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Old Monday 8th November 2010, 18:48   #6
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Ah some life! I thought this had just passed everyone by, or worse, noone was bothered.

No more official information or details as far as I know? But interesting comments around, one here from the Guardian on friday.
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Old Monday 8th November 2010, 20:00   #7
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Ah some life! I thought this had just passed everyone by, or worse, noone was bothered.

No more official information or details as far as I know? But interesting comments around, one here from the Guardian on friday.
I'm really bothered, Laura. I'll be objecting by whatever avenues are available when any plans become clearer. The comments on the Guardian site are really well-informed, and just make me more worried.

A representative sample of the observations made by commenters below...
"Conifers are ok and they have their place as part of diverse mixed landscapes - endangered species like red squirrel, black grouse, nightjar, osprey and many more rely on them. Is it not better to grow much of our own timber, than import it from countries and forests that have few environmental or health and safety safeguards? All FC forests are UK Woodland Assurance Scheme certified, this independent and WWF supported auditing process ensures that they are sustainably managed. Timber is probably the greenest building material. The FC alone supplies timber to mills when the market is depressed, thereby guaranteeing hundreds of thousands of jobs. When we import more timber we also increase our carbon footprint.

The FC practice multipurpose forestry, and effectively balance conservation, recreation, landscape and timber priorities for the benefit of the nation. And amongst Government bodies they are fairly unique in being predominantly self funding."
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Old Tuesday 9th November 2010, 17:41   #8
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I'm would be directly affected by any sell of as I live in the Forest of Dean. There is a local campaign through the local newspapers here in Gloucestershire. I have signed said petition. Thanks for airing this topic on BirdForum
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Old Tuesday 9th November 2010, 18:34   #9
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I'm would be directly affected by any sell of as I live in the Forest of Dean. There is a local campaign through the local newspapers here in Gloucestershire. I have signed said petition. Thanks for airing this topic on BirdForum
Glad things are happening on a local scale, I do feel for those who are close by. Thankfully the Scottish Government has stood up and said they've no intention of following suit, I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my local woods to a private company. Everyone on here I'm sure knows how easy it is to get very attached to a bit of land or a few trees.

If anyone has any news of what's happening locally please post here, despite few posts there seem to be quite a few reading the thread so obviously there's some interest in what's going on.
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2010, 08:32   #10
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... Thankfully the Scottish Government has stood up and said they've no intention of following suit, ....
The Scottish Government tried something very similar last year but got their fingers burned in the process.
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Old Wednesday 10th November 2010, 21:41   #11
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just a quickie, the brief views of Zac Goldsmith (Conservative and 'environmental campaigner', or so he says, he was alright in The Ecologist years, not sure about him now...) can be found here
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Old Friday 12th November 2010, 19:58   #12
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According to defra's twitter post today, this is where Caroline Spelman "sets the record straight on forestry proposals":

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...roline-spelman

Again, no detail, but wooly stats and comments.

"Around 70% of England's woodland is already under private ownership – some of them already participating in woodland schemes that actively preserve the environmental and public benefits our woodlands deliver."

Some of them she says, how much is that, and what about the rest?

"Putting more woodlands into alternative ownership will not lead to a free-for-all of golf courses, holiday parks or housing developments – I imagine local planning departments would have some strong views and use a range of safeguards to prevent this happening."

Environment Secretary relying on imagination to protect woodland. Many of us up here did not imagine that the SSSI sand dunes of Aberdeenshire would be sold off for a golf course and holiday 'village'... Money talks.

We're all still waiting for the details, which woodlands are to be sold, will there be any regulations on who purchases them or will it simply be the highest bidder, etc.

The comments of the article are worth reading too.
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Old Monday 15th November 2010, 20:07   #13
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Insights from a former FC chairman here:

http://www.hortweek.com/channel/Park...ons-around-UK/

(edit: that's Forestry Commission, not Football Club...)
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Old Sunday 16th January 2011, 17:30   #14
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Bit of a bump for this as there are rumours on twitter that there will be a defra announcement this week.

Petition here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/s...rests#petition

They're not far off 150000 signatures now
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Old Sunday 16th January 2011, 19:07   #15
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Bit of a bump for this as there are rumours on twitter that there will be a defra announcement this week.

They're not far off 150000 signatures now
Good work Turkish Van! Looks like 150000 people agree with me: 'Why fix something that ain't broke?' (That also goes for the break-up of the government-owned Forensic Services).
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Old Sunday 16th January 2011, 19:39   #16
turkish van
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Indeed, and 150000 is a great achievement. Hopefully enough for those at the top to listen....

Though, as recently tweeted by Stephen Fry and to raise a wry smile:

Man at Lib Dem HQ:"Can I have a copy of your manifesto?"
Flunky:"We've sold out."
Man:"I know... but can I have a copy of your manifesto?"
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Old Monday 17th January 2011, 21:11   #17
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Unhappy Save our Forests

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-forests


I've just signed up to support the save our forests petition. The government is planning to sell off all our forests. The more of us take part, the stronger the message will be.


Please sign the petition now:

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-forests

I'll put my other hat on now, as a member of the Friends of Red Kites. Our beautiful kites depend on woodland habitat, like many of our other birds and wildlife. We must save our forests, and maintain the balance of nature............... have we not seen the awful consequences of deforestation elsewhere in the world?

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Old Wednesday 19th January 2011, 07:54   #18
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A good piece from Caught by the River on this subject:
http://caughtbytheriver.net/2011/01/...nd/#more-11606
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Old Saturday 22nd January 2011, 15:05   #19
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Recent poll shows three quarters of people oppose the sell off, and only 6% support it. It's all going through parliament next week...

Article in today's Guardian here
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