Please sign the petition using the link above and we will be releasing further information shortly.
All these illustrated talks are open to all and will be in the Main Hall, Bridge Street Methodist Church, Mansfield NG18 2HA. Talks start at 1900 and we ask for a donation of £3.00 to cover costs and refreshments. We look forward to seeing you at some of our events:
Tuesday 9 February – East Midlands Ecological Consultancy – Dave Sutton will talk about land management projects and consultancy
Tuesday 8 March – Discover amazing spider facts with Sara Goodacre from Nottingham University – “What makes a Spider Fly?”
Tuesday 12 April – AGM & Talk – Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscapes at NWT Head Office will bring us up to date with current campaigns.
Contact Shlomo Dowen 01623 640134
Download poster here: Advertising Poster – January – June 2016
Monday 8th June, Monday 22nd June and Monday 20th July, 6pm to 8pm.
Meeting Point – in the Maun Valley Park LNR car park on Old Mill Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse.
Himalayan Balsam is a tall and vigorous plant that can over-grow our native wildflowers and has a negative impact on important native wildlife (such as water voles). Maun Valley Park LNR provides a wonderful space for people to enjoy wildlife and the ‘great outdoors’, so please come along and give a helping hand to keep this site special.
For more details contact Chris Jackson at the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group – 0115 993 2588, Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download a flyer for these events here: Maun Valley Park Balsam Pulls June July 2015
This year’s Ramble will take place on Saturday 11th April. More information on our page here: http://wp.me/P1lPOs-7I
A Happy Festive Season to all our friends, thank you for all your support over the years.
Thanks to Dave Bishop for the illustration.
We are very concerned about proposed new legislation in the Infrastructure Bill. The government is introducing legislation that will allow ministers to transfer public land to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to enable development.
The Bill contains many elements of great concern. For the Forest Campaigns Network (FCN) it’s the risk to the public forest estate (PFE) from the power contained in the Bill to transfer public land to the HCA. We are fighting hard to change the legislation to include exemption for the PFE.
We need to persuade the government to insert words within this proposed new law, which would confirm our public forests cannot be included in these land-transfer schemes. So far the government is refusing to amend the Bill to keep our forests safe. The government have said ‘it is not their intention’ so they don’t need to exempt the PFE. Crown land, owned by the Queen, is exempted in the Bill. If there is ‘no intention’ as applies to crown land why not exempt the PFE? This government’s intention is not relevant: it’s the future impact of the bill used by any government which could be used to transfer parts of the PFE to the HCA.
The door will be left wide open for our forest land to be disposed of by any future government if we do not succeed in stopping this now. The House of Lords meets next to consider the Infrastructure Bill in October: our next opportunity to persuade the Government to do the right thing.
We believe this is a serious and real risk to the PFE. We are lobbying the Lords to back amendments tabled by Baroness Jan Royall to exempt the PFE. So far the government have only made “verbal” statements that have no weight. The only solution is an exemption for the PFE from the Infrastructure Bill.
Forest of Dean campaigners at HOOF have produced a template letter to send to Lords which is suitable for all public woodlands across the country (see www.handsoffourforest.org/documents/Infrastructure_bill_letter.pdf). We recommend you send letters and emails to crossbenchers, bishops and non-party-affiliated Lords and Ladies. Some of their emails can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/
You can also get information on Lords here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peers/
And on writing to lords here: https://www.writetothem.com/about-lords
And here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/whos-in-the-house-of-lords/get-in-touch-with-members/.
You can email an individual member at email@example.com or using their individual email address listed in the Members of the House of Lords section.
Please note that if more than six copies of the same email are received, all will be deleted. It’s therefore important that you change the template letter to put in your own views and experiences.
Lack of a Forestry Bill – a HUGE Disappointment.
We were extremely disappointed that after a concerted attempt to lobby the Prime Minister, members of the Cabinet and key MPs there was no mention of a Forestry Bill in the Queen’s Speech. Our disappointment was matched by our surprise that this Government missed an opportunity to do something green for a change – something that, based on the outcry in 2010 and the amount of public support for the PFE, would have been a very popular action. This sentiment was widespread through the Forest Campaigns Network, many of whom campaigned as hard as we did in the run up to 4 June.
The press release can be found here. There was little take up by local print media, but we did manage to get a piece on BBC Radio Nottingham.
We have spoken with personnel from the Forestry Commission (FC) and DEFRA who insist that government is still committed to legislation that will protect the PFE from privatisation and provide it with a basis of proper financial support. Both FC and DEFRA think that the lobbying has had a positive impact and they are keen to keep this issue high on the agenda so that the next administration will take it up in 2015.
However, at the end of the Queen’s Speech she says that other measures, not mentioned in the speech, may be put before parliament and there has been talk within the Forest Campaign Network of making a push to get legislation brought forward later this year. There has also been discussion about using the opportunity of a Private Members Bill to promote a Forestry Bill. On the face of it this seems quite attractive, but it might not be such a wise move. If we’re successful and Government do take it up later in the year and the Bill falters, through lack of time, before the end of this Parliament it may be seen as a less attractive proposition for the new government post the general election: a new government may see it as the previous administration’s business and not want to take it up to completion.
Perhaps a better move will be to try to influence all the major parties to include the promise of a Forestry Bill in their General Election Manifesto and for it to be included in their first Queen’s Speech and business session.
This issue has been raised by Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF – Forest of Dean). It is going through Parliament at the moment and could be one of the reasons why there was no Forestry Bill in the Queen’s Speech. This may be a tad cynical, but HOOF write:
‘…the Bill proposes that the Secretary of State can hand over any amount of public land to the arms-length, non-departmental government body, the Homes & Communities Agency. This agency can then dispose of it to developers. There will be no need to go through local authority planning processes – the Secretary of State can give the green light without any local politicians or planners’ involvement, just by consulting a panel of two people. As for public rights of way, the proposed law allows any of them to be extinguished. There is no need for permission for easements (i.e. roads, power-lines, railways. drilling, tunnels, etc). And any existing laws that protect land and prevent it being built on, appear to be overridden by one simple enabling clause.’
The Crown Estates are the biggest landowner and they apparently have been put outside the scope of the Bill. However, there is no such protection for the second biggest holder of public land – yes, you guessed it – The Public Forest Estate.
A petition has been started by a HOOF supporter on 38 Degrees. If it gets enough signatures, the team at 38 Degrees may take it up and spread it around more: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/infrastructure-bill-allows-ministers-to-sell-off-public-land.
Please support this initiative and spread the word. It would be really good to know if you have.
If you have any comments or views on any of the above or would like to make an input into what we are doing please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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