For the first time in a very long time, the whole of Parliament was focused on forests. Specifically, the Government’s plans to sell some or all of England’s public forest estate between now and 2015.
An Opposition Day Debate Motion put forward by Ed Miliband (subsequently amended by the Government) received huge profile in and outside Westminster as the issue of the future of England’s public forest estate continues. We welcome the fact that all parties agreed that any future changes to the ownership of our national forests must not compromise the protection of our irreplaceable ancient woodland. The Debate was fascinating and highly charged – though the outcome is pretty much as we expected and quite political. You can read our official response in full here.
What happens after this?
This Motion, as amended, now sits as a record of parliamentary will. The ongoing ‘Future of the Public Forest Estate’ consultation will ensure – until April 21st at least – that the public can speak on behalf of our vulnerable woodland, with a voice that’s louder than ever! In this week (is it only a week!) since the consultation launched, 100,000 people have signed our petition: Phase One of our Save England’s Ancient Forests campaign.
Please sign up if you haven’t already and encourage your friends to do so too. We’ll keep letting you know about the next steps you can take and how this fast-moving topic goes, over the coming weeks.