Says Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury and Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries
Concerned about the Government’s plans
for our Forests?
Here is the truth
The “Save our Forests” webpage makes some fundamental inaccuracies. What they claim is in black. The truth is in red.
“The government is planning a massive sell off of our national forests.”
No. a consultation is seeking views on whether more community engagement in the 18% of our woodland that is state owned. Some commercial woodland could be leased to private operators but only is access provisions and value for wildlife is maintained. Small pockets of woodland close to communities could be offered to those communities if there was a demand – and in many areas we know there is.
“They could be auctioned and fenced off, run down, logged or turned into golf courses and holiday villages.”
No. Not sold off. Felling takes place today in the national forest estate. It would still be regulated by the Forestry Commission which issues all felling licences and requires applicants to comply with measures to protect wildlife etc. No golf courses or holiday villages would result in ANY of these proposals.
“National treasures like the The Forest of Dean, Sherwood Forest and The New Forest could be sold off.”
No. The Heritage Forests such as these two are not to be sold. They may be better managed by a charity such as the Woodland Trust but they will remain in public ownership. If no charity or Trust comes forward the Forestry Commission will continue to run them.
Hands Off Our Forests