Save Our Forests
* The Government is planning to sell over 635,000 acres of woodland
* Once woodland has been sold, the public will no longer have any automatic "right to roam" on the land
* The "right to roam" laws do not include riding
* Selling public woodland will dramatically reduce riders' rights to ride, force more and more riders on to increasingly dangerous roads and even force many riders to stop riding altogether.
"This is an incredibly hurtful thing to thousands of people wishing to walk, ride and simply enjoy the experience of ambling through green wooded areas."
Elynor Gilbert writes to The Rt.Hon. Caroline Spelman, MP, Minister of State for the Environment.
May I add my strong protest at the continuing sell-off of our forests. This is an incredibly hurtful thing to thousands of people wishing to walk, ride and simply enjoy the experience of ambling through green wooded areas. As a Conservative voter, I am extremely disappointed that the actions commenced by previous governments have not been halted by this one. Increasingly, we need areas protected by government, whether local or state, in which to seek the tranquility we all crave in this noisy, frenetic world.
The easy felling of trees these days with a chain saw has led to wholesale depletion of forests and woodlands by governments. It is not only forests that suffer but, in our case, Odiham Common in Hampshire, which English Nature/Natural England has tried to fell since imposing a SSSI on the land in 1992. Their excuse is the provision of grazing areas for cattle which will have to be fenced. Their latest experiment ended with a Public Inquiry in 2003 which categorically forbade fencing for this age-old woodland common, used by King John for hunting. Through a new Management Plan, they have induced Hart District Council to do their bidding and, sometime in the future, this destructive experiment will start again because of a simple citation of 'wood pasture' by NE, which it most definitely is not, consisting as it does of nearly 90% deciduous natural woodland, a rare thing in the south. The Inspector, herself, refused to accept the citation and yet.....
In both cases, I see this as a lack of sensitivity by Ministers to people's need for forests and woodlands in which to exercise and derive pleasure. It is, simply put, a shameful act perpetrated by greed. I believe that this should be re-thought before any further forests are sold for profit and eventual felling. There is much anger about the present position.
Elynor Gilbert (Mrs.)
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