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.
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.
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: