Well, it looks like the Government will think again about their proposals for the Public Forest Estate.
If it is true then the withdrawal of Clauses 17-19 of the Public Bodies Bill will mean the Government cannot rush to dismantle the Forestry Commission and sell-off all our woods and forests.
But there will still be cuts right across Government and David Cameron is still committed to his ‘big society’ agenda, so the potential for the sale of large amounts of our Public Forest Estate still looms large.
We need Government, DEFRA and the Forestry Commission Executives to:
- recognise the valuable, efficient and innovative work of the FC Rangers
- recognise the importance of the existing FC Volunteer schemes, Grant schemes and collaboration with other stakeholders in realising the “big society” in forestry
- recognise the importance of the sustainable infrastructure the FC is a part of in working with private companies, external agencies and NGOs all over the country and it shouldn’t just be swept away
- help deliver more of the things we all want from our woodlands and the outcome of the 2009 consultations on the “Long Term Role of the Public Forest Estate” would be a good place to start
- tell people honestly and openly what could be delivered, what benefits there would be and why, what would not be delivered, what we would not get and why (like the Forestry Commission did in its “New Forest – New Futures” consultations)
We are concerned about what having an “Environmental Panel” will mean. Will it take the next stage of deciding the future of our PFE into secret?