Mary calls Commons debate on the future of England's forests
Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh has forced a debate in the House of Commons on the future of the Public Forest Estate in England. The debate took place on Wednesday 3rd February 2011 and can be viewed here - bit.ly/gbfuq5
The debate was called after the Tory-led Government announced a public consultation on the future of England's forests, despite having already identified thousands of hectares of woodland for sale.
Under the current law, the Government can sell off up to 15 per cent of the forestry estate in England. Ministers have already identified the most likely sites for sale on a map released as part of the consultation, marking them as red hot spots.
The Government are seeking to change the law regarding forests as part of the Public Bodies Bill which will give them the power to sell the remaining 85 per cent of the woods.
Mary said “On Thursday the Tory-led government launched a consultation on the sale of England’s forests, yet the Public Bodies bill which allows them to be sold is already going through parliament.
“The Forestry Commission website has a map which marks in red the forests which they have already earmarked for sale over the next 4 years. This sent a shiver down my spine and I’m sure that people across the country will feel the same when they log on.
“Kielder, as a “large commercially valuable forest” in yellow will be next and then some of the green “multi-purpose forests” like Thetford, Grizedale, Whinlatter and Dalby. Only the blue “heritage” forests will be immune but they will be left with no cash to invest and few commercial opportunities. The whole grim exercise is a disaster.
Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/PFE_consultationmap.pdf/$file/PFE_consultationmap.pdf to view the map and see if your woodland is at risk.