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Save Our Forests

by Darren

To see the map, please click here. Thanks to CASA, UCL for providing the mapping service.

If you’re frantically looking for today’s video, then I’m sorry. As I said back in the very first post/film, there’s not time for one person to do everything and having got in late on Tuesday night I just didn’t manage to make one to post.

So why am I passionate about today’s campaign?  This issue is incredibly important. Forests and woodland are crucial to our wildlife yet the Government wants to sell off this habitat. They insist that the new owner will still allow access and imply that selling the forests doesn’t mean the owner will change them. Why would they buy them then?

The Companies Act requires Directors to run businesses as businesses – to at least try to make a profit. In law, that’s the only reason a company exists. To make a profit out of our forests, these companies will need to change them – whether that is by restricting access, felling trees and destroying habitat, or throwing all of their considerable resources at the planning process until it breaks and they get permission to build.

Anyway, Karen Wilde puts it much better than me so I’ll just say thanks for doing #5Acts4Wildlife.

Catch up:
Day 1: Who’s the monster, the myth about sharks
Day 2: Help Wildlife Aid to Rescue Orphans

Karen Wilde is a writer and website designer currently working on her first novel. Karen feels that spending time in  woodland uplifts, fulfils and her like no other landscape. She is a keen bushcrafter and outdoor living enthusiast although more often to be found behind a computer screen!

What’s the issue?

The government wants to sell England’s publicly owned forests. The Public Bodies Bill seeks to amend the Forestry Act to allow the wholescale sale of public woodlands and forests.

All Forestry Commission (FC) forests are well managed, regularly audited and independently certified against the Forestry Stewardship Standard and Pan European Forest Certification. A new owner is not required to certify their woodlands.

Anyone who buys freehold land from the FC is required to allow access on foot as all FC freehold woods are dedicated under the CRoW Act, however:

– There is no legal requirement to allow access for cycling or horse riding under CRoW.

– The land can be closed for 28 days per year by the private owner and for longer periods if the need can be proven.

– There is no requirement to maintain forest walks, provide car parks or generally encourage and make access easier.

– Not all Forestry Commission woodland is under freehold.

Why are you passionate about it?

For me, spending time in the woods always inspires tales of faeries and secrets, heroes and monsters. Trees are magic and there’s no escaping the fact that our lives and their lives are deeply entwined.

I believe our forests are our natural heritage and it is in the public’s greatest interest to keep it that way.  Whatever happens – I would rather they stayed as public owned lands so that WE can decide how they could be managed and not a foreign energy company, a leisure developer for shooting rights or holiday parks and to protect our ancient trees from the feller’s axe in favour of a more productive “cash-crop”.

Why should others be passionate about it?

Our lives and the lives of trees are intrinsically connected. It is impossible to break that connection but easy to forget it.

They’re just trees, right? Wrong – they are food, roosting spots and protection from predators for birds and all manner of wild creatures. Oak trees support more than 300 species of creature on each tree. They are carbon sinks when mature, the lungs of our planet.

What can others do to help?

Please sign the online petition hosted by 38 Degrees. SIGN THE PETITION HERE: Take every opportunity to let your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours know about these plans and encourage them to sign the petition too.

Why will people taking action help?

We can send a clear message to the Government that the forest lands of England are too precious to our natural heritage and biodiverse future to sell. It is in the nation’s interest that publicly owned forestry land remains in the public’s hands.

One of the most important things you can do to protect the natural heritage and future biodiversity of the country is to Save Our Forests from being sold. Save Our Woods and SOW the seeds of a biodiverse future for all.

Further information

-For more information, advice or to connect with other groups of people keen to protect our forest land please visit the new Save our Woods website.
38 Degrees has some helpful tips on how to join the campaign to help save the forests.
-Find out the Woodlands Trust position on this issue.
Save the Forest of Dean

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