Forest Campaign Groups call for forestry legislation to be in Queens Speech

15/05/2014

in National Campaigns

It may have been quiet on the SoW website recently but plenty has been happening in the forest campaign. Many forest campaign groups have spread the word in their communities and sent letters to the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet encouraging them to include the proposed new forestry legislation in this June’s Queens Speech.

savesherwoodforest.org.uk

Save Sherwood Forest

 

Why is it so important that forestry is in the Queens speech? Back at the beginning of February I wrote ‘It’s time to get the draft forestry legislation into the public domain for debate‘.  If the proposed forestry legislation is mentioned in the speech then it will begin it’s democratic journey through the political houses and be open for public scrutiny and debate.

It’s not just grassroots forest campaigners that are pushing for this, the Institute of Chartered Foresters also welcomed the assurance of the Minister at this years Forestry Stakeholder Forum that the new forestry proposals will be in the Queens Speech.  A few weeks ago the Woodland Trust also spoke up, starting their own campaign to get the forestry legislation into the Queens Speech – Public Forest Estate needs a Forestry Bill.

Save Lakelands Forests


Save Lakeland’s Forests

 

The Forest of Dean campaign group HOOF writes –

‘Dear Cabinet Member

On February 17, 2011, the Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman told Parliament that “my ambition to provide a better future for our forests is undiminished”. She announced the formation of an independent panel of experts to advise on future forestry policy. The Independent Panel for Forestry?s report, published in July 2012, was welcomed by our group, Hands Off Our Forest (of Dean), by our MP, Mark Harper, and by the Government. Yet we have been waiting in vain now for almost two years for the Panel?s recommendations to be adopted and implemented by the Government. This is why Hands Off Our Forest is writing to each of you as Cabinet members, to ask you to ensure draft forestry legislation to form a new Public Forest Estate management organisation and Charter is announced in the Queen?s Speech on June 4, in line with the Government?s stated determination to secure a better future for our Forest of Dean and other public woodlands….. ‘

Please help us in helping the Government get forestry into the Queens Speech by spreading the word in your communities, online and by writing to your MP’s, Owen Paterson and the Prime Minister.

Here are a few more examples of letters from a small selection of forest groups:

Friends of Thetford Forest

Friends of Sherwood Forest

Forest of Dean, Hands Off Our Forest

Save Sandlings Forest

 

Save Lakeland's Forests


Save Lakeland’s Forests

 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Roderick leslie May 16, 2014 at 10:08

This Government doesn’t have many environmental winners – but forestry could be one. After a huge struggle Defra’s current proposals look good – delivered honestly, they reflect the widely supported findings of the Independent Forestry Panel.
It’s understandable why Defra and probably the PM, too, are nervous of this issue – the sales fiasco stirred opposition they didn’t even know was there and they have suffered numerous setbacks as they try to ignore public opinion and get back to what they want – so you can understand why this looks only like trouble.

But it isn’t – the new proposals have widespread support and I can see no reason why they would not succeed in the coming legislative session. Siren voices will be saying ‘do nothing is safer’ but following that advice will leave this issue wide open through the election campaign, causing only pain for conservative candidates and possibly even swinging tight majorities in places like the forest of Dean.

The right legislation – now on the cards – will close the issue down, and could even give Owen Paterson and Dan Rogerson a positive footnote in history !

Reply

Garin June 4, 2014 at 08:24

Looks like no forestry bill in Queens speech today, but there will be for carrier bags! Looks like forestry is less important in the zeit geist of Englandshire’s conservative and lib dem MPs than supermarket bags, very sad day.

Reply

SaveOurWoods June 4, 2014 at 08:40

Thanks for your comment. Yes we’re with you, we’re sad and absolutely disgusted.

The amount of effort and money put into this. What excuse will they give? They don’t have the excuse that they didn’t have enough time for the legislation to be written or hadn’t consulted enough. We’ve been working with them, alongside many others in the forestry, access & conservation world, for 2 years to ensure any legislation was balanced. What they have is something that is wonderful, that whilst there would have been some compromise from all corners it would have been a real and exciting step forward.
The only excuse they have is a party political one. Forestry is too controversial in the run up to the general election and that is disgusting.

Hen

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