At their planning meeting today, Thursday 17 February, members of the Save Sherwood Forest campaign celebrated the coalition government’s U-turn on the proposed forest sell-off and welcomed the removal of articles 17 to 19 from the Public Bodies Bill.
But it was a cautious celebration with the group expressing concern at the cuts to Nottinghamshire County Council’s budgets which threaten jobs and infrastructure in local public spaces.
The county council currently owns five country parks and each one may be considered an easy target for cuts. The recent issuing of redundancy notices to rangers at Bestwood Country Park, for example, was a disgraceful treatment of the people who care for our open spaces. Such job losses will have negative impacts on the upkeep of the park as well as threatening the development of the space for members of the public and wildlife.
Campaign members are also wary of the 25% cuts to the budget of Forestry Commission England announced in the 2010 spending review resulting in the loss of 350 jobs. This will severely compromise the commission’s ability to retain a decent forestry estate with protected access and services, and to protect biodiversity, wildlife and the environment. We will be urging the public to keep up the pressure on the government to leave the commission alone. And we will be urging the county council to face up to its responsibilities and not consider transferring ownership of its estate in Sherwood Forest.
Even with the U-turn, England’s forests still face real dangers and Save Sherwood Forest supporters intend to keep up the pressure on government to ensure that the local authorities recognise the true value of the natural spaces they hold on behalf of the public. They call on Nottinghamshire County Council to recognise these parks, and the people who work there, as investments for current and future generations.
Download the PDF of this press release here: SSF_022011_UturnReaction