PUBLIC FORESTS MIGHT NOT BE SOLD OFF – BUT HUGE CUTBACKS IN STAFF LEAVE THEM THREATENED
The increasing public opposition finally forced the Government to remove the forestry clauses from the Public Bodies Bill and scrap the Public Consultation in February 2011. Find out more at saveourforests.co.uk
Following the protests against the proposed forest sell-off, many of the local and national groups involved joined together to form an umbrella group – the Forest Campaigns Network (FCN). This enables us to share information and thoughts about continuing to save our forests. There is more information at http://saveourwoods.co.uk/category/forest-campaigns-network/
The Government set up an Independent Panel to advise on forestry policy for England, and the public were asked for their views during the summer of 2011 – over 40,000 people responded. We all told them that we want to keep our woodland publicly owned and managed by a properly funded Forestry Commission.
In July 2011 the Panel held a workshop in Hexham and representatives from over 60 local organisations were invited to attend – this included the Friends. The conclusion was that the people of the North East are passionate about their forests, and there is huge support for the Forestry Commission. Forestry needs a long term plan, not conflicting instructions given by changing governments looking for short term gains.
There have been visits by the Panel to other areas, and these were ongoing until March 2012. The interim report from the Panel was out in December 2011, with the final report to the Government made on 4th July 2012. The Report can be downloaded from www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports/ and you can respond directly by email at email@example.com
Meanwhile, the Public Spending Cuts being implemented by the Government on the Forestry Commission are making it difficult for them to carry out their duty of care in dealing with any disease, and in preventing our wood falling into neglect!
Chopwell Wood became part of the new “North Forest District” in April 2012, the area covers all North East England, Cumbria and part of Lancashire.
A BIG thank you to all of the people who came along to the two protest days at Chopwell Wood in January and February 2011. Over 1200 people gathered at the Pines area for the second day of action on Sunday 13th February to protest against the Governments plans to sell off the Public Forest Estate. The protesters made their thoughts’ clear ‘Chopwell Wood is NOT for sale!’ YOU DID IT – THE GOVERNMENT HEARD YOU – WELL DONE EVERYONE OF YOU.