New panel should listen to the majority – March 2011

Save Sherwood Forest logoOur forests must remain in our hands

Today (Thursday March 17, 2011) the Government announced the membership and terms of reference of its independent panel to review the future of forestry in England1.

As part of the Forest Campaigns Network (FCN), Save Sherwood Forest welcomes the news that the panel intends to make an early port of call to consult with campaign groups, and looks forward to taking part in full discussions. Although the campaign group notes that Defra secretary Caroline Spelman did not answer calls from grassroots representatives of the 40 million users of these national woodland assets asking for a place on the panel. We also call on the panel to visit as many different forests as possible and for it to ensure all public forests stakeholders’ views are consulted on and listened to.

We wish to see the public forest estate maintained by a strong publicly owned Forestry Commission. We believe the current cost of 30p per person, per year for our woodlands to be managed for public benefit is good value for money and would rather see this capable organisation strengthened in its vital, multipurpose, work than compromised by 500 job losses.

One month ago today, the Government said it had listened to the massive outcry against plans to dispose of the woodlands that belong to us all, and dropped its consultation and proposed legislation. We remain vigilant in battling any plans to achieve privatisation and request that the panel carries out its work transparently, and meets in public.

At least 17 campaign groups have joined the Forest Campaigns Network2 following its formation on February 26 this year to speak with one voice to keep our forests in public hands and publicly run by the Forestry Commission.

This Sunday (20 March), groups from the FCN are co-ordinating, via the 38 Degrees website, a nationwide Celebrate Our Forests Day, on the eve of World Forestry Day. Save Sherwood Forest is organising a Ramble at Sherwood Pines country park at 2.15pm. Participants are encouraged to wear yellow, or display yellow ribbons, to show the strength of their commitment to keep our forests publicly owned and run. See events at www.38degrees.org.uk/celebrate-our-forests

Notes

1. Details of the forestry panel and its terms of reference here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/forestry/panel/

2. Groups that have joined the Forest Campaigns’ Network so far include 38 Degrees (national), Friends of Bourne Wood (Lincolnshire), Friends of Hurn’s Forests (Dorset), Friends of the Lake District (Cumbria), Friends of Thetford Forest Park (Norfolk), Hands Off Our Forest (Forest of Dean), Keep Our Forests Public (Sussex), One Voice (New Forest), Save Cannock Chase (Staffordshire), Save Delamere Forest (Cheshire), Save Haldon Forest (Devon), Save Our Forests (national), Save Our Woods (national), Save Chopwell Woods (Tyne & Wear), Save England’s Forests (national), Save Sandlings Forests (Suffolk) and Save Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire).

Download the PDF of this press release here:  SSF_032011_PanelReaction

This was covered in the Nottingham Post and can be read here

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