Opinion and Editorial

Views from the SOW team and guest writers.

If you have ideas and articles to share, get in touch, we’d love to know your opinion too.

Don’t Frack the Rich – Notes from a Devonian Dumping-Ground


by Peter Howard   The concession by the UK government that fracking for shale gas would only take place in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the most exceptional circumstances has been seen by some as a cowardly refusal to implement a complete ban in Protected Areas. However, it is more a […]

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Public Forest Estate – an update


As the long grass turns to scrub, the big question hanging on our lips this past 3 YEARS is ‘what will Government DO with our Public Forest Estate?’

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Forestry expert speaks out on proposals for our public forests


Forestry expert, Rod Leslie, warns against an uprising from the grassroots if Govt gets it wrong over our public forests

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All about the Money


Behind the debate on ownership of our national forests, the money question has always been there. How much should the forests cost the public purse ?

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Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement and response to Independent Forestry Panel Report. Is it really good news, and what are they actually going to do?


Sarah picks apart the Governments response to the Forestry Panel, with some insightful commentary

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Who will fight for nature in future?


Independence of the charitable sector is under threat, so who IS going to fight for nature? Asks Sarah Walters of Alvecote Wood

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The Future of the Forestry Commission


by Rod Leslie.. “For me, the break up of the Forestry Commission is a line in the sand because it will mean the Government will fail to deliver the promise of the IFP report.”

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Politics and the Forestry Panel


As the Government’s response to the Independent Panel approaches it’s clear there is only one way out of the political mess the Conservatives landed themselves in. That is to understand, accept and take action to turn the panel’s views into policy.

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Autumn Statement – Go for Growth – Go for Trees


At a time when leadership, vision and confidence are all important surely we cannot take the risk of being the country that can afford Trident but can’t afford it’s Trees.

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Forestry Commission – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone


My message to our new environment ministers is this:

Please, DON’T put an NGO between us and those we trust at the Forestry Commission. Particularly over something as important as tree disease and forest resilience to climate change.

Please, DO give the Forestry Commission the resources and freedom it needs to work with us, the public, to advance our multi-purpose forests into a financially and ecologically sustainable future we can be proud to leave our children.

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Zac Goldsmith & CRT call for action on all invasive pests & diseases threatening our trees, woods & forests


… calling on the Government to invest more resources in the form of a Tree Protection Task Force, not just for short-term fire-fighting when a pest is already present, but for getting ahead of those posing future threats and developing long-term strategies to build greater resilience into our woods, forests and city tree-scapes

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“Ash Die-Back” : Disaster or Opportunity?


The traditional response to a disease outbreak is initially panic and then to respond with a raft of regulatory measures designed to drive the disease out of the country but…

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Chalara fraxinea- Securing our Shores, Protecting our Forests


Antony Croft shares his thoughts on the importation of Chalara Fraxinea (Ash dieback) to the UK and tells us how we can help.

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National Forestry Stakeholder Forum – erm.. where is it?


The fight to protect our English forests continues. Somethings not right. Where is the promised National Forestry Stakeholder Forum? Where is the campaign groups hello from the new ministers?

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Taking Green for Granted


‘This green and pleasant land’ as celebrated at the opening ceremony of the Olympics is due to Britain’s very enviable climate which keeps it green. For how much longer though?

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A Point of View


I am a commercial forester. I make my living helping my clients grow trees, cut them down and then sell them to other people who make things out of the timber. I want what I do to have the maximum benefits with least damage. I work to make what I do sustainable. I am passionate about what I do – but I operate in a World of real money, real constraints and real opportunities.

These opinions are mine. They are not my company’s.

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Thoughts after the Forest Panel Stakeholder Meeting


Our friendly analyst has shared some thoughts with us following the Forestry Panel’s stakeholder meeting on the 10th July. Particularly focusing on the written ministerial statement from the Secretary of State Caroline Spelman. You can read the ministers’ statement with our comments attached here: Caroline Spelman – Written ministerial statement, Forestry Panel Report – What she really meant

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SoW Response to Independent Forestry Panel Report


“I am convinced that without a living discussion, based on facts about our forests, we will be less able to meet all contrasting goals. I am also convinced that we will never come to a final answer. This is not necessarily a problem since it is the discussion itself that is important.”

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Forestry, the Poor Relation of Farming


Raymond Henderson, Head of Bidwells Forestry Team, has highlighted some facts from Scotland which expose a severe disparity in funding, procedure and lobbying power, which are very useful as case study to further forestry in England at a time when it is ‘up for discussion.’

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The SuDS Consultation – further delay in sustainable development.


Gov’t is consulting on proposed changes to SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) legislation.

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