Save Our Woods
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.”
John Burroughs (1837-1921), American Naturalist
Visit the About Us page to learn more about the SoW team.
Welcome to Save Our Woods (SoW). We are a grassroots organisation that was born in 2010 to ensure that our English public forest estate (PFE) remains in public ownership. As we believe this is the best way to protect those woodlands for future generations, ensuring their access and biodiversity are maintained and enhanced, their resources are managed sustainably and in the best interests for wildlife, local communities and business’s.
We are not funded and we are not affiliated with any political organisation, business or NGO.
What’s happening now?
Now we need to ensure that the management and sustainable development of our PFE is suitably secured and funded. Government have published their Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement.
You can read our commentary here: Government response to Forest Campaign – it’s a Victory, no doubt about it!
Save Our Woods will continue to work with and follow the progress of Government as they create the policy to fulfill the promises made in their Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement, continuing to provide regular updates and commentary.
Options for the structure of a new ‘PFEMO’ (Public Forest Estate Management Organisation) that is at ‘arms length’ from Government is with ministers for their consideration. Hopefully we will have the ministers decision very soon…
A bit about what happened in the fight to save our public forests -between October 2010 and July 2012…Left to right: Brian Mahoney (FC – ex-Director Forest Enterprise) Rich Daniels (HOOF) Mark Funnell (FC – Head of Communications) Hen Anderson (SaveOurWoods.co.uk) Dominic Driver (FC – Head of Woodland Expansion and National Expertise Forest Services) Sue Baillie (New Forest One Voice) Imogen Radford (Save Sandlings Forest) Andy Medhurst (FC – Director Forest management) Emma Friend (DEFRA forestry team)
Following the success of the Save Our Forests campaign to;
1: get Government to do a u-turn on their plans to “sell up to all of” (Jim Paice MP) our Public Forest Estate (PFE),
2: have the forestry clauses removed from the Public Bodies Bill,
3: shut down Government’s sham public consultation in favour of a proper assessment of Englands’ woods, trees and forests and all the myriad of research papers and best practice case studies available. With a real and groundbreaking discussion between stakeholders, cross-sector experts, professionals and policy makers.
In response to our campaigns, Government committed to setting up an ‘Independent’ Forestry Panel to explore the future of the Forestry Commission, all private woodlands in England and, of course, our unique Public Forest Estate.
Sadly the Government didn’t feel they could include anyone from the grassroots to sit on the panel. Instead they included those NGO’s that hindered us and were not a part of the Save Our Forests campaign (well, I suppose you can’t win them all!).
About 16 months and nearly a million pounds later, the Forestry Panel published it’s recommendations to Government on the 4th of July 2012 - www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports
Save Our Woods was glad to see that finally the members that made up the Forestry Panel, and now the Government, agree with what campaigners have been fighting for all along, that our public forest estate should remain in public ownership. See ex-secretary of state Caroline Spelman’s ministerial statement.