To James Duddridge MP: Protect our forests

Dear Mr Duddridge

I am really concerned about the proposed sell-off of English forests. I think forests should be kept in public ownership and that the government should not change the law to allow a big sell-off. 84% of people polled recently said they were against such a proposal.

As pointed out in Private Eye, privatising the country’s woodland will not save any money as the new owners would be able to apply for funding to plant new trees and maintain them, but the land can only be sold off once. See the item “Forest Chumps” at http://www.seefoe.org.uk/2011/01/21/forest-chumps/ for details.

Our own local ancient woods in Hockley are clearly well-managed and Rochford District Council makes some money from selling woodchips, logs and fence stakes. Why does the Government want to put the profit from such enterprises into private hands? With the economic situation the way it is, local authorities will be grateful for this money.

If the Government were instead to concentrate on properly collecting tax from large companies (such as Vodafone and Boots) rather than letting them evade their responsibilities, far more money would be brought into the exchequer than by selling off our woodlands – an important public resource.

Are you willing to promise me that you will fight to keep the forests public? Will you ensure that access to forests is maintained and that the wildlife is protected? Apparently there is a vote on Wednesday afternoon on the forests calling for a rethink of the proposed sell-off – how will you vote?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Denis Walker

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