Disappointment at lack of forestry legislation

We are hugely disappointed that Government has missed the opportunity to move on from the controversies of the 2011 by not choosing to include a Forestry Bill in today’s Queens Speech. This is the second legislative programme put forward since a promise was made in January 2013 to bring forward legislation. We are frankly perplexed why the Coalition didn’t choose to take what would have been seen as a very positive step by the many thousands of opponents to the proposed sell off of the Public Forest Estate.

This decision is also inconsistent with the claim by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in their joint statement that accompanied the Queen’s Speech “Four years on, our parties are still governing together and still taking bold steps” and that the programme “builds on the foundations we have laid in the past four years, will help us make progress and continue to take Britain forward to a brighter future”.

Taking a bold step for forestry would have given our public forest estate the bright future it deserves!

Image: Independent.co.uk

We are very grateful to our members and supporters, over 3,300 of you took action to highlight our call to your local members of Parliament. This reached a staggering 572 MPs – 90% of all the MPs in Parliament. Our call for a Forestry Bill has also united a broad range of groups. The Ramblers, ConFor, Wildlife Trusts, Save our Woods, 38Degrees, and members of the Forest Campaign Network all signed our open letter to the Prime Minister published by the Daily Telegraph.

Disappointedly leafing through those 11 Bills which made the cut today, I feel it does little to persuade us that the Government sees the natural environment as having a role to play in Britain’s brighter future. Starting with the positives, we are pleased that Government is planning to legislate for carrier bag charging in England, with the proceeds channelled back towards environmental causes. However, we share the disappointment of small retailers that they will be exempt from the regime. We are also keen to further explore how the proposed Garden Cities, which are supported by 85% of the population, could deliver environmental gain, and remain worthy of the name by being sited sensitively, respecting the existing natural environment, and ensuring their residents benefit from proximity to nature.

Of biggest concern to us is the Infrastructure Bill, a mammoth hotchpotch of legislation that brings together a range of controversial measures to rapidly boost infrastructure development, road building and fracking. The Bill will weaken the ability of local communities to use the planning system to protect their local environments, including ancient woodlands from unwanted developments. The Bill will also legislate for zero-carbon homes, although Government has decided to exempt small developments – a significant chunk of the house building market.

Ending on a brighter note, the one silver lining within the Infrastructure Bill is the inclusion of Species Control Orders to control invasive, non-native species. This is a measure we support as invasive species are a major threat to the health and biodiversity of our woods.

Returning to our campaign for forestry legislation, the Woodland Trust will continue to push both independently and in conjunction with others for a clear route map of pre-legislative scrutiny to prevent any further delay, as well as urging all political parties to make a manifesto commitment to legislate as soon as possible so that the future of our public forests is assured.

Please read and share our press release on the Queen’s Speech.

Steve Mulligan, Lead Government Affairs Officer


About Kaye Brennan

Trying vegan, staying warm. Occasional bursts of words.
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Climate Change, Government Affairs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Disappointment at lack of forestry legislation

  1. Pingback: The Infrastructure Bill – what does it mean for woods and trees? | Woodland Matters

  2. Pingback: British government not protecting forests | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Anthony Powell says:

    Actually, house building standards are lowered, even for larger developers. Instead of being pushed to build really low energy homes that would be a real asset to the future. Details on Edie – http://www.edie.net/news/6/Queen-s-speech–win-on-plastic-bags–lose-on-zero-carbon-homes/

  4. sherwoodforestcommunityvision says:

    Reblogged this on Sherwoodforestcommunityvision’s Blog and commented:
    Missed opportunity.

  5. True, the political will to provide a suitable legal and institutional framework for conserving vital natural resources is of paramount importance if their integrity is to be enhanced.

  6. Ash says:

    I hit the LIKE button but really the news is not good. So what’s next?

  7. andy white says:

    ‘Hugely disappointed’ just doesn’t cut it Kaye. I’m sorry but its weak. Resigned even. I like you but you don’t have the teeth for what’s needed. Get tough or move over, not much time now…. are you going to let this happen or are you going to do something…unpopular? Or …is it more than your job’s worth…?

  8. Peter Kyte says:

    Unless it helps big business, it is not high on the governments priorities.

  9. Dinnydonald@aol.com says:

    Frankly I think the whole Queen’s Speech was a farce and I feel sorry for her having to read out such ridiculous guff. I am afraid the LibDems have been one of the problem. They want our country to go under tarmac and concrete and am afraid Labour will be the same. Shocking given that the Tories always stood or countryside, farming, conservation, etc. Disgusting. I suggest you set up yet another petition. Diana Donald

    • Sadly you seem to wish upon a star as this whole idea comes from George Osborne’s office, the Tories hitman makes up surveys the same as that other tory bully boy IDS and is using these lies to justify the sale of our forests, the Lib. Dems and Labour are’t doing this at the moment I’m not saying that they either won’t or wouldn’t but they just not right now, but to blame them for the Tories policies is a bit rough it has been their policy to sell off our forests since pre election and is one policy that they keep coming back to even though they have been told over and over again that the majority of people in England don’t want the forests sold, it just simply shows that they don’t care what the majority think it’s what those who give their party money who make up the policies and they want to build garden towns on green belt land so sod what you me or uncle Mary want because we’re scum so we don’t count, sadly it’s the same with the Lib. Dems. and Labour and as for Ukip well forget them as well because they haven’t even got a policy on forests in fact some of them have probably never been near one ever, so lets just hope that this particular piece of legislation never manages to see the light of day

  10. Derek West says:

    The lack of any real effort to protect the environment and dilution in housing insulation standards, so what did you expect?,if you want to Frack your way round the country this is the Government for you,

  11. R MASON says:

    Dear Kaye   Do not be perplexed; the government is only interested in corporations. Have we told you that glyphosate/Roundup has four US patents on it? As a herbicide, an antibiotic, an anti-protozoal against malaria and when they acquired it was used as a chelator of minerals for decoking boilers! Have you found out if they plan to use it in their campaign against invasive weeds? 

    Swansea, where we live, has been dubbed the “Japanese Knotweed Capital of Europe” Thanks to Monsanto and co, it is fast becoming the “Cancer capital of Europe”

    Best wishes



  12. Why is anyone surprised by this, most people know that you can’t trust any one of these crooks, basically it comes down to who pays gets what they want and you me and uncle Mary don’t have the Money to make this lot sit up and take notice, they would sell the bed from under their own bedridden mother if they thought they would get something for it, so get a back bone stand up and tell them NO sell your own estates your not having our’s, let face facts if Cambams wifes dad sold some of what he own’s then that would free up half of Yorkshire for house building, so like I said get stuck in and tell them to take a hike

  13. Paul says:

    I hope when the Woodland trust has given this more thought it will behave a great deal more angrily and more resolutely than is suggested by this post.

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