News Just In – Govt. to axe forest sell-off

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The pressure group 38 Degrees has just announced that its campaign to make the government change its mind on the forest sell-off has been a success. The BBC agrees too as its website is reporting that the Government will be performing a U-turn in its decision to sell off Britain’s forests.

Commenting on the government scrapping plans to sell off publicly owned forests, 38 Degrees Executive Director David Babbs said:

“Some people say signing petitions and emailing MPs never changes anything. But it did this time. This is what people power looks like, and over half a million of us are feeling very proud of what we’ve achieved together today.

We will keep watching David Cameron to make sure he keeps his word. But right now it looks like fantastic news for all of us who want to keep our forests safe in public hands for future generations.”

38 Degrees’ petition to demand the government scrap the forest sell-off grew to over half a million people in since the plans were announced. The petition can be found at:

Other key facts from the campaign include:

* Thousands of 38 Degrees members voted to launch the Save Our Forests campaign in October 2009 when the government first announced their plans
* Over 500,000 38 Degrees members signed the “Save Our Forests” petition
* Over 100,000 38 Degrees members emailed or called their MPs urging them to stop the forest sell off
* Hundreds of 38 Degrees members donated to fund a people-powered YouGov poll which found that 84% of the public wanted the forests kept in public hands
* Thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in over £60,000 to pay for ads in national newspapers to highlight that 84% of the British public opposed the forest sale.
* Over 30 local groups around the country sprung up to campaign to stop the sell-off
* Over 220,000 38 Degrees members shared the campaign on Facebook

And if the government decides that it wants to sell the forests after all, we know of a well-orchestrated campaign in the works that will unite mountain bikers in the forests in a public show of support for our trails, trees and forest centres.

Anyway… well done everyone! Let’s hope it stays that way, eh?


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (12)

    CallmeDave’s big society at work then

    Thats great news if it comes to plan, be interesting to see how the forestry is managed with all the redundancys in the forestry at the moment, I guess time will tell

    Just had TyneTees TV out to interview me about this from a Hamsterley Trailblazers viewpoint.

    Planned Demo on Feb 26th might now be a celebration party!

    Congratulations to the team behind 38 Degrees. I was incredibly impressed with how well organised their set-up is (I was one of the 100,000 to mail their MP).

    Keep up the good work!!!!

    I think it’s great. But there’s many ways to skin a cat. I suspect we’ll see something else, from some other angle but achieving something broadly similar, maybe over a longer timescale.

    In any case, congratulations to everyone that took a bit of time and made some effort in opposing this and helping to get this outcome.

    I read somewhere that it had been leaked that the cost of the sell-off would exceed the income which may be the reasl reason why it has been axed.

    Good news…ahem (smug mode) the Welsh assembly booted out this dull idea a while ago…glad the others have caught up!

    All looks very good until you read the last couple of paragraphs of the BBC report:

    ‘The government is allowed to sell off 15% of England’s woodlands in each four-year public spending period.

    ‘The current planned 15% sale is on hold while criteria are examined to ensure public benefits are protected, ministers say, but it is due to go ahead over the next four years – raising an estimated £100m.’

    What’s all this about then?

    ‘The current planned 15% sale is on hold while criteria are examined to ensure public benefits are protected, ministers say, but it is due to go ahead over the next four years – raising an estimated £100m.’

    This is government policy, Labour did it as well and this should be remembered! The sale of Forestry with no guarantees must be halted permanently.

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