We’ve published today the five key, but simple, criteria which we’re urging the Government to meet before any sale of Forestry Commission land is considered. They are that:
1) Public access is maintained and enhanced.
2) Public rights of way and access land are properly managed.
3) No sale or transfer is completed until the purchaser has committed to preserving and maintaining access.
4) Where access is currently not secured in law, this is remedied through CROW act dedication.
5) The local community is consulted and given the opportunity to play a full and active part in woodland management, including first-refusal on purchase.
The important thing is not who owns the land, but what happens to it. Through involving local communities and voluntary organisations, there could be real opportunities to improve on the access which already exists. On the other hand, if it is simply about taking the highest bid, without safeguards being in place, this could be a real threat to keeping the countryside open.
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The Ramblers’ Association is a registered charity (England & Wales no 1093577, Scotland no SC039799) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales (no 4458492). Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.
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