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Says Adrienne Yentis

Says Adrienne YentisA friend of mine recently was riding on the heath
and she came across a group of cattle strung out across the bridlepath with no way through – the only way off was to turn round. Fortunately her horse
remained calm throughout. But you can imagine how a nervous horse might react ........... read more

Save Sherwood Forest

Save Sherwood ForestSave Sherwood Forest, along with other organisations in the Forest Campaigns Network (FCN), have been involved with meeting Defra & Forestry Commission officials with the aim of representing a grass roots view of the new managing body.

Progress is being made, but much is still to be decided, particularly regarding the role of the Guardians.

The general view seems to be that the new body will develop out of the existing Forest Enterprise England and have much the same role and responsibilities. However it will be established through legislation as a statutory Public Corporation still operating in the public sector but at arm’s length from Government and outside the Civil Service. Its primary role will be to manage the PFE for the benefit of people, nature and the economy as stated in the Government’s Forestry & Woodlands Policy Statement issued in January.

The new organisation would be managed by a board of directors including a number of non- executive directors. The Secretary of State would appoint the Chair of the board and have powers to intervene in the running of the PFE if the organisation is not carrying out its statutory duties.

The new PFE MO would have more freedom to operate commercially than the existing FEE with the aim of being more self-sufficient in the long term. This would include buying and selling land and other assets, but crucially it would have a statutory duty to maintain the overall integrity of the PFE.

The Guardians would operate separately from the board and would support the organisation’s purpose. Their role would be to ensure that the organisation was delivering the benefits to society and wild life as stated in its remit. Exactly what teeth (or how sharp) the Guardians would have has not been decided. Predictably we in the Campaigns Network want real power to be given to the Guardians in order to protect against the over commercialisation of the PFE in the rush to be self-financing. Perhaps equally predictable is Defra’s view that the board must have the final say and that the Guardians are there to advise the board, not to be “another board”. Personally, I have some sympathy with this view, but see no reason why Guardians can’t be part of the main board. I also think that there could be a compromise regarding sales of large areas of land that potentially have an impact on local communities or wild-life.

The issue of how many Guardians is still being discussed - a group of 5 to 20 people has been mooted. The general consensus within FCN is for each Forest District to have a representative(s) to give community representation along with others from environmental and forest industry interests. This would mean a Guardian group of around 12 to 15 people.

Says Sarah PalmerSays Sarah Palmer

I’ve been banned from emailing Hampshire Country Council with complaints about bridleways .............. read more

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