If any proof was needed that the power of organised protest still counts in this supposedly apathetic age, it the great news that the unwelcome, proposed sell off of 40,000 acres of state owned forest has been abandoned.
After an outcry from the genuine society that even Dave’s “big Society” could not ignore people have acted and the government has done what it should do – listen. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has told MPs that the government had “got this one wrong”, and the announcement is welcome. A new panel will now look at public access to our forests and examine biodiversity within publicly owned woodland.
Even the proposed inclusion of safe “heritage forests” and guaranteed access rights could not hide the fact that this ridiculous, ideological decision was not going to go down well with the british people. Half a million people signed the petition objecting to the sell off.
However we must not take this decision for granted. Up to 25% of jobs at the Forestry Commission could still be lost. It wouldn’t be beyond this Con-Dem shambles of a government to sneak this one in again later in the year while they think we are not watching. The plans to sell 15% of publicly owned forest at some stage are still there, and as people are finding out, this government cannot be trusted.
We are watching. Lets hope we can reverse some of the Tory Council’s daft ideas.
Labour Candidate, Dorcan