Today’s announcement by ministers on forests doesn’t go far enough.
The government announced today that the planned sale of 15% of the Forestry Commission’s estate has been put on hold until the sale criteria has been reviewed, including a strengthening of protection of public access.
We are pleased that the government’s statement suggests an increased commitment to the protection of access in any normal forestry sale. However, the announcement doesn’t relate to the consultation which is already underway which could lead to the sale or leasing of all Forestry Commission land. We remain deeply concerned that the government’s current vision will lead to forbidden forests, where the woodland walk, as we know it, is a thing of the past. We urge the government to remove the elements of the public bodies bill which give government wide-ranging and unfettered powers to alter the Forestry Commission and call on them review the entire consultation process so that there can be a full and open debate on these issues.
We need to keep the pressure up, and we’ll be circulating to Areas some suggestions for responding to the consultation, next week. We’ll also be contacting members, via Walk Magazine, to ask them to respond too.
Follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/RamblersTom
Follow my blog for Ramblers volunteers at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Volunteer/chief+executives+blog
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.
Visit our website at: