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Equine Answers -Horse Supplements EXCLUSIVE

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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.

"Is the sell off contrary to the Aarhus Convention ?"
asks Steve Yandall

Elynor Gilbert writes to The Rt.Hon. Caroline Spelman, MP, Minister of State for the Environment

An inevitable result of bank mismanagement (poor gov't controls) of our economy is the compulsion, by government, to sell off assets.

The problem, of course, is that, in selling off physical assets, as a reaction to financial pressure, that consideration of collateral social/recreational and natural impacts are poorly considered.

Immediacy overrides sustainability UNLESS current and potential uses are enshrined in sale agreements and interested parties are allowed to participate and be consulted.

Those of you with a legal 'bent' should look at the Aarhus Convention re.the public right to be involved in all decision making to do with our environment.

I would suggest that the sale of this huge public asset has the potential to be in conflict with this statute.

The problem that faces our environment is the inevitable 'marriage' between sustainability and money. The thought of selling off this huge national (our) asset shows the frail strategy adopted by successive government advisors and that the real meaning of sustainability has not been understood.

In trying to supend so many environments the inevitable result is costly whereas allowing some areas to become successional (as nature intended) reduces costs hugely.

Policies are wrong!

I have suggested to ministers (of various political persuasions )and conservators that real sustainability can only be achieved by reducing the financial burden associated with conservation.This could only be achieved by allowing/encouraging a higher level of voluntary, public, involvement through utilising a part of current budgets to educate/enthuse and harness the huge energy of the British public.

The potential to exclude,depress and isolate the public is certainly the result of current policies. Whether this is intentional or a biproduct of policies is something to be considered especially relative to forests.

The means to achieve sustainability (the public) being denied through the above does fit the image I have of current management and we all have to question why public funding has been used to create an industry reliant on massive financial support when education/statute and strategy could have achieved the same at a far lower cost, higher accountability and with far greater sustainability.

A 'self fulfilling prophecy'? I believe so.

Failure of ecosystems creates the need for an industry that, in itself, being unaccountable, generates its justification through failure!!

As an example the HEATH Project in Cornwall justified its objectives on the failure of ESA to maintain heathland and in particular the encroachment of scrub/Gorse/Bracken. 10 years of failure justifying 10 years of further investment which, in itself, is likely to fail because central funds/strategy do not allow for education/support and thus the accountability of stewards undertaking HLS!!!

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