Forestry selloff – an update
The government was embarrassed before Prime Minister’s Question’s as its own documents showed that the coalition is expected to lose money in the sell-off. A joint Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Forestry Commission study showed that the government can expect disposing of the land to cost £679m over 20 years, but the benefits will only be £655m.Posted 7 years agotinribzMember
Yeah, since when was it about saving money?
Idiology aside, some lord snooty with X million acres was on the radio earlier slagging off the FS for some policy enforcement or other on his land (how dare they) and welcoming the curtailing. No doubt chomping at the bit at the prospect of more cut price aquisitions, and some free cash grants on top too.Posted 7 years ago
Well all things considered, the pragmatic thing to do at this point would be to bin it, apart from the financial cost there is the political one which is harder to put a price on.
I suppose if you are going to make an arse of youself, best to do it four years before the next general election though eh?Posted 7 years agoMr AgreeableSubscriber
The more I think about this, the angrier I get. I’ve written down a few thoughts about how this is going to affect my local trails here:
If the sale does go ahead, by my reckoning the most likely outcome is that we’ll lose access, and even worse, access to trails built up over years by volunteers. Even if the scheme works as intended, it’s likely that we’ll end up having to buy back the right to ride trails that have always been free.Posted 7 years ago
Having just read the Hansard report on the debate firstly the gov had the cheek to amend the debate and won it arguing the past performance of forest policy by labour in power was shabby. they managed to get enough mp’s to roll in at the end to ensure the tory amendment won by 40 odd but a number of tory mps were making very strong noises about significant desent against the proposed bill .. my own tory MP shabbily supported his party which I will be discussing with him face to face on the 21st.
Tory’s main defence to the criticism were that all those opposed were idiots incapable of making their own judgement having been influenced by proven labour lies such as the forests would be bulldozed to become housing estates which clearly even they knew was not possible. The could not really get to square the circle of cost, the charities cant afford them and even if they could they would be bled dry maintaining them unless the government bailed them out with big grants that somehow seems to defeat the object which is to cut the 17 million annual costs of the Forestry Commissions management fees.
Even some of the Tories recognised loosing forestry staff in rural areas would have a cataclysmic effect on rural economies and that the FC love them or loath them provide a capacity to develop esoteric controls of forests that enable others to use them for recreation or sporting events that the commercial sector has yet to deliver in any similar quantity unless very well reimbursed and only at high profile sites.
A newer notion the tories seemed to biting is the psyche of being British and how we are forest peoples in reality and our love of forests and old oaks are more continuous than our respect of the king. The state ownership of the forest since WWi has meant irrespective of its limited benefits for public access until recently that many brits walking in a state forests gains a stakeholder benefit and wants to protect the forest environment he will not get when walking as a tolerated guest of the chip board, roll off loo paper, forest company plc who will be driven by financial measures.
most interesting is the number of tory mp’s commenting on the 4 or 500 emails each is getting on the subject so get writing to yours if you have not and tell your mp you are fully satisfied with the forests the way they are run now then fill in the governments consultationPosted 7 years ago
Please do your bit….
The big Petition http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests#petition
Email your mp http://38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/MP-forests
Woodland trust petition http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/Pages/default.aspx
DEFRA consultation http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-pfeconsultationPosted 7 years ago
It does not matter how hard line your local tory mp is, even the wettestt tory against the sell off will have a hard time voting against the bill because cameron is not going to want to loose face by being unable to call for a majority. Last nights vote on the debate proved that, however I think it’s clear some tories MPs will be working hard to get the terms of the bill made more palatable and most of those will be the marginals with large mail bags from forest supporters rather than any moral notion what they are doing is wrong.
The safe seat tories need the marginals to retain seats at the next election if they wish to stay in power and continue to cream tax payers money off to give to their private sector companies.
Itt’s equally important that Welsh and Scottish Mp’s are contacted although there will not be many Tories amongst them, theire are libdems and anyone able to bomb danny alexander the ginger rodent with mail please do. Given the unpopular state of the forest service in Northern Ireland talking to mountain bikers over there I think its unlikely any NI MP’s will bother to vote to save in England what they never had, however the loss of the FC in England will have a debilitating effect on the FC in Wales and Scotland even taking into account the tory biker chorus here.Posted 7 years ago
My tory MP has a semi-rural constituency with loads of outdoor folk (esp equestrian/ramblers) but is also a party whip.
(And rumour has it he joined the conservatives back in the John Major government so he could do The Lord’s work more effectively. What would Jesus do about the forestry sell-off? 😆 )
I am sure hell will freeze over before he votes against Cameron.Posted 7 years agoourmaninthenorthSubscriberCheeky MonkeyMember
If I got a sh1t response from my MP (or their assistant) I’d be straight back to them pointing this out and asking for a proper answer.
I got a pretty full response from Greg Mulholland (Lib)and have copied it here:
(scroll down a little)
The reactionary, alarmist hyperbole from the initial opponents hasn’t helped TBH but there are enough issues elsewhere in the bill and proposals that it could still be booted out / substantially amended.
Fingers crossed 😉Posted 7 years ago
My original post came from here:-Posted 7 years ago
which I found because I read;
Nice work Nicknoxx. Got to respond to our MPs letter. He made a silly mistake and mentioned the previous Governments sell of was 25000 acres. Oh dear he should have calculated it in Hectares then it wouldn’t have looked like such a big number. Im sure thats just a clerical error but I’ll point that out to him 😉
He also mentions that rights of access wont be effected. Well, we all know that and we are not against that, we are against the Permissive rights that we will loose, all the mountain bike trails and equestrian access plus the nature trails that dont run on Rights of Way.
Oh dear two glaring errors. What a sill man!
Please remember everyone that the forestry sell of is just a small part of the Public Bodies Reform bill. This will also effect Natural England, CCW and the National Parks.
Whinlatter 19th Feb for the next demoPosted 7 years ago
[/quote]the previous Governments sell of was 25000 acres
Which is less than 4% of the 258000 hectares (~637500 acres) that the FC owns currently. A 4% change in assets over more than ten years is perfectly reasonable for a large organisation. The complete disposal of all assets proposed by the current government is not in any way comparabhle. My own MP made this point too, it’s a complete red herring.Posted 7 years agomark_bMember
Max would love to support but doing anything with my MP is an utter waste of time, she’s been the MP of our rotten borough for at least 250 years and doesn’t give tuppence for anyone’s views.
Is there anything else I can do that would have an effect?
My MP is a shoe in Tory Back bencher who tries to ignore his constituents views. Doesn’t mean i can’t harangue him about his commitment to representing his constituents over this issue. After all he’ll be back asking for my vote again in 4 years.Posted 7 years ago
I thought I read somewhere yesterday that the proposal isn’t a sell off, but a long term lease arrangement?
As far as I can see a 150 year lease amounts to pretty much the same thing as a sell-off, only with the added overhead of actually administrating the leases, which over the vast holdings in question isn’t going to be a cheap or easy task.Posted 7 years agorangerbillSubscriber
my response to my MP…..ok it might be little patronizing!
Dear Mr Whittaker
I read your response to my wife’s letter regarding the forestry sell off and noticed that you had made a couple of school boy errors so thought I would reply to help you out.
Firstly you mentioned that the previous Government have sold of 25000 acres of woodland. That’s a big number. Unfortunately your boss’s document gives figures in Hectares. This is like acres, it’s a measurement of land, but a Hectare is bigger. So if you have a calculator handy you can try this conversion 1 Acre = 0.40468564224 Hectares.
The ConDem’d proposal is to sell off 285,000 hectares or if you like 637,000 acres. So you can see it’s quite a bit more than the previous Government
Hope that helps
A good example of why people don’t want the woods to be sold off is Rigg Wood. I remember going there with my Wife and son when he was a toddler; we parked up and had a cycle around the area.
Rigg Wood was sold by the Forestry Commission last year. Although the new owners are obliged to continue to allow walkers on the Rights of Way they have been able to close the car park, remove picnic benches and put up fences, making it much more difficult for people to access the woodland in future.
This leads me to your second error, which hopefully if pointed out you will be able to amend the letters you send out.
In your letter you say the Government proposal guarantees protections on rights of access. That is correct our Rights of Way are protected, unfortunately the British public are not complaining about that. We are alarmed that we will lose our permissive rights of access.
Permissive means that the Landowner has given us Permission to go on the land where there is no Right of Way. That includes mountain bike trails, equestrian routes, dog walking routes and family friendly nature trails, access to lakes for water sport enthusiasts. It also includes car parks and countryside furniture like picnic tables and information boards. None of these are covered by Rights of Way and the Landowner is under no obligation to provide them. However the Forestry Commission has used public money wisely and invested in an infrastructure of access for the public that we can use for free.
I hope I have been able to help you understand why the public, that you represent and serve, are so angry at the proposed sell off. If you’re still struggling maybe come along to a demo and ask people. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help.
All the bestPosted 7 years agoPimpmaster JazzMember
Something that was mentioned to me that I found interesting.
Vodafone owe HMRC £6bn: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/14/vodafone-tax-evasion-revenue-customs
The entire FC estate is valued at around £700m: http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/lib/research/briefings/SNSC-05734.pdf
I’ll leave you to do the maths. 😉Posted 7 years agoononeorangeSubscriber
After a bit of soul-searching, you will be pleased to know that I have sent it. I normally only do anything like this if it can be done anonymously.
I hold out no hope that I’ll get any response, but at least she’ll know there’s on dissenter in the consituency!Posted 7 years agoMarkoMember
Just had reply back from my MP (D Davies, Monmouthshire) and we don’t need to worry as the Crow Act will safeguard access. (Yeah right).
And he can’t tell the ‘English’ how to vote on their woods. (This is from an opponent of devolution btw).
I’ve replied pointing out that they could spend a bit more time raising money from tax dodgers, rather than cutting away like a demented butcher. (Thanks for the link to the Vodaphone/Guardian blog btw).
MarkoPosted 7 years agoIanBMember
LOL at minimperial
Finally pleased to see some sense coming out yesterday, from DC himself:
“Forestry Commission……was compromised by being both the regulator and the major producer of wood in England”
Regardless of how you feel about the sell off, something does need to be done about FC regulating and industry while also competing against it. It’s a bit like being judge, jury and executioner. I can’t think of another government department that operates in this way.Posted 7 years ago
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