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People Power Saves Forests

February 17th, 2011

From this morning’s Guardian, by Nicholas Watt and John Vidal:

David Cameron has ordered ministers to carry out the government’s biggest U-turn since the general election by abandoning plans to change the ownership of 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland.
Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will announce on Friday that a consultation on the sale of forests will be ended after a furious backlash that united Tory supporters with environmentalists and the Socialist Workers party.
“The consultation is going to be terminated,” a government source has said. A No 10 insider added: “It’s a cock-up. We just did not think.”
The prime minister, who told MPs that he was not happy with the government’s handling of the issue, has ordered Spelman to:
• End the consultation on plans to dispose of about half of the 258,000 hectares of woodland in England run by the Forestry Commission by 2020.
• Establish an independent panel with environmentalists to reach consensus on reforms to improve access and biodiversity in forests.
• Drop clauses in the public bodies bill that would allow the government to sell off all of England’s forests. Under current laws only 15% of forests can be sold.
One government source said: “We have heard, we have listened. The consultation will be canned. The consultation will be terminated. It is now a case of coming up with something everyone is happy with.”

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5 Responses to “People Power Saves Forests”

  1. How wonderful to hear the voice of people heeded as they protect the forests and public land of the UK. May we all dance beneath the sky and the arms of our beloved trees today in celebration

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