Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

16/02/2011

in News

Well, a news report that makes us stop in our tracks!

Chris Mason, political reporter at the BBC has said “BBC learns consultation on publicly owned forests in England will be stopped.”

And the Guardian with their report

The prime minister, who told MPs that he was not happy with the government’s handling of the issue, has ordered Spelman to:

  • End the consultation on plans to dispose of about half of the 258,000 hectares of woodland in England run by the Forestry Commission by 2020.
  • Establish an independent panel with environmentalists to reach consensus on reforms to improve access and biodiversity in forests.
  • Drop clauses in the public bodies bill that would allow the government to sell off all of England’s forests. Under current laws only 15% of forests can be sold.

One government source said: “We have heard, we have listened. The consultation will be canned. The consultation will be terminated. It is now a case of coming up with something everyone is happy with.”

If this is true and an announcement is made we will be glad this government listened to us all, together. And that together, we can now discuss sustainable land use and forestry management, openly and honestly.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Imogen Radford February 16, 2011 at 23:26

This looks like it will be very welcome and very important news. But it is crucial that the whole of the public bodies bill is stopped – so that ministers cannot come out with such proposals in future and assume they can slip them through Parliament. And it is equally crucial that the Forestry Commission is properly resourced – and is not cut by 25% as currently intended. We need it to be properly resourced to carry on its excellent work in forest management, the environment, the people, for the economy, and even better, to expand forests and bring them closer to where people live and make them even more accessible than they already are.

Reply

Tony greaves February 16, 2011 at 23:51

Yes, I understand that it is true – the forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill are to be dropped when we get to that bit of the Bill in the House of Lords. I am not certain that the consultation is to be stopped but it seems likely.

We will see what new proposals come forward in due course. But for the moment it looks like a brilliant victory for all you campaigners. Very very well done. Let’s all celebrate for the moment!

The definitive announcement was planned for Friday – but I suppose that in view of the leaks it may come tomorrow.

Tony Greaves (aka Lord Greaves!)

Reply

John Honeyman February 19, 2011 at 19:15

Yes this is a well earned victory for all – so pause for a while and revel in it, for it is deserved.

Then:-
1/ Work towards funding the FC adequately
2/ Remove the governments right to sell off 15% of our woodlands annually, or else the 85% left of the public forests will eventually be 85% of nothing.

Reply

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