in Infrastructure Bill

Over 140, 000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition to exempt our publicly owned forests from being transferred for development – again.  


New mural by Tom Cousins, painted on the side of a house in the Forest of Dean

This should send a message loud and clear to members of the House of Lords who are debating today whether or not to include an exemption for our public forests in the appalling Infrastructure Bill. We want our public forest estate named as exempt in this bill, just as they have already done for Crown Estate Land.

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In the past when Government have resisted writing protections for our forests into law we have been told that a ‘parliamentary statement‘ can be made instead. Which is when a peer or MP, who is part of introducing a bill, gives either a written or spoken statement to the house that says, for example, ‘it is our intention that the public forest estate will not be subject to this bill’, or words to that effect. When a parliamentary statement is used to record the Government’s current intentions, supposedly the statement can be used to hold Government to account. However, just as the word ‘intent’ allows you to do whatever you want despite what you’ve said your original intent was, a parliamentary statement is not law and it is not enough to protect our public forests from this bill into the future. A parliamentary statement has no life after the term of the Government it was given in and so the only way to protect our forests is by writing into the law that the public forest estate is exempt from this bill.

The Infrastructure Bill has the potential to allow our public forests to be transferred for development UNLESS our forests are named as exempt in the bill. Please name our public forests as exempt in this bill.


A message from young Joe of the Forest of Dean.


It’s like a replay of the Save Our Forest campaign.  Back in autumn 2010 when Forest of Dean folk raised the alarm about clauses being sneaked through in the Public Bodies Bill that would enable the flogging off of the entire 260, 000 hectares of English public forests. It wasn’t long before a nationwide campaign rose up, thousands of people in their constituencies fought hard to save their forests, 38 Degrees petition reached over half a million signatures and social media was used to inform and organise campaigners. As a result of this unprecedented campaigning Government was forced to u-turn.  Those of us who have continued to keep an eye on our public forests this past 4 years have been waiting to see how Government was going to slip in through the back door their original intention to flog off large chunks, or up to all of, our public forests. We think this is one way they are doing it and we must not let it happen.

The Infrastructure Bill has the potential to allow our public forests to be transferred for development UNLESS our forests are named as exempt in the billPlease name our public forests as exempt in this bill.


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