Posts tagged ‘forestry’
July 4, 2012
Our Forests has issued a short response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report issued earlier today.
Robin Maynard, coordinator, Our Forests said,
“The Panel’s report offers reassurance on many, but not all, of the concerns of Our Forests and the many grassroots campaigners and forest community groups who stood up for their patch of our public woods and forests – forcing the Government to halt its disposal plans.
It is particularly welcome to see our number one demand endorsed by the Panel – namely, full and lasting protection for our public woods and forests – in their proposal that the Public Forest Estate be held in trust for the nation under a new public ‘Charter’. Yet despite making several references and citing strong evidence as to the tremendous ‘value for money’ of the Public Forest Estate in delivering public goods and services, some worrying language has slipped in – bearing the hallmark of the free-market ideologues in the Cabinet Office and Treasury.”
The response reviews in outline how the recommendations of the panel may meet the six demands put to Government by Our Forests.
The much heralded report by the Independent Panel on Forestry on the future of forestry in England was released this morning. It is anticipated that the Government will take until January 2013 to consider the Panel’s recommendations and that the suspension on sales of public forests will be extended until it publishes its response. Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, will be issuing a written statement later this morning.
Here’s a quick summary of the central messages:
A woodland culture for the 21st century
- Urge society as a whole to value woodlands for the full range of benefits they bring. We call on Government to pioneer a new approach to valuing and rewarding the management, improvement and expansion of the woodland ecosystems for all the benefits they provide to people, nature and the green economy.
- Government and other woodland owners to give as many people as possible ready access to trees and woodlands for health and well-being benefits – this means planting more trees and woodlands closer to people and incentivising more access to existing woodlands.
- Ensure that land-use creates a coherent and resilient ecological network at a landscape scale, by integrating policy and delivery mechanisms for woods, trees and forests in line with the principles in the “Making Space for Nature” report, published by the Lawton Review.
- Urge Government, woodland owners and businesses to seize the opportunity provided by woodlands to grow our green economy, by strengthening the supply chain, and promoting the use of wood more widely across our society and economy. These and other actions should be set out in a Wood Industry Action Plan
Making the vision a reality – the role of our national forestry organisations
- Propose that the public forest estate should remain in public ownership, and be defined in statute as land held in trust for the nation. A Charter should be created for the English public forest estate, to be renewed every ten years. The Charter should specify the public benefit mission and statutory duties, and should be delivered through a group of Guardians, or Trustees, who will be accountable to Parliament. The Guardians will oversee the new public forest management organisation evolved from Forest Enterprise England urge Government to ensure that the new organisational landscape makes specific provision for international and cross-border arrangements, working closely with the devolved Parliaments on sustainable multi-benefit forestry implementation, research and in the international arena.
In the Introduction to the report the chair of the panel Bishop James Jones wrote some of the most eloquent words about our forests and woods that I have read in a long while:
Our forests and woods are nature’s playground for the adventurous, museum for the curious, hospital for the stressed, cathedral for the spiritual, and a livelihood for the entrepreneur. They are a microcosm of the cycle of life in which each and every part is dependent on the other; forests and woods are the benefactor of all, purifying the air that we breathe and distilling the water of life. In short, trees are for life.
Bishop James Jones, Chair, Independent Panel on Forestry. July 4th 2012
The ginger group Our Forests will be releasing a statement later today.
Other resources related to the IPF Report
June 29, 2012
Our Forests has produced a series of posters free for anyone to use in publicising the issues critical in securing the people’s vision for the future of woods and forests in England.
The posters reiterate and emphasize our six simple demands for Government:
- Our woods & forests protected forever!
- National support for a national resource
- No sales until public woods safe
- Stop chopping the Forestry Commission
- Public Forest Estate – Double it!
- Good management for all woods
Read more about Our Forests
June 27, 2012
The Independent Panel on Forestry is due to publish its report and recommendations to Government on the future of our public woods and forests (the Public Forest Estate), the Forestry Commission and England’s woodland and forestry policy in general on Wednesday, 4th July.
Our Forests has been in contact with many of those groups who share our concerns and who have signed up to the following public statement, which has today been put to Government and sent out to all 171 Members of Parliament that have public woods and forests within their constituencies:
“We believe that public ownership of the Public Forest Estate must be secured, through new legislation. The rich cultural, historical and natural diversity of our forests and woods, and full access to them, is best protected under the continued stewardship of the Forestry Commission, fully resourced to sustainably manage and expand our multi-purpose Public Forest Estate now and in the future.”
This statement has been fully endorsed by the following grassroot campaigns:
- Friends of the Lake District
- Friends of Thetford Forest
- Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF – Forest of Dean)
- Keep Our Forests Public
- Save Cannock Chase
- Save Chopwell Forest
- Save Delamere Forest
- Save Lakelands Forests
- Save Our Woods
- Save Sandlings Forest
The Our Forests ginger group recently conducted a national survey together with 38 Degrees. Just under 90% of those responding said they would campaign against the Government if their concerns about and hopes for England’s public woods and forests are not met. Read the Survey summary.
Rich Daniels, Our Forests member and chair of Hands Off Our Forest said:
”It would seem political suicide to do so, but the evidence on record from Parliament is that the Government could put significant areas of public woods and forests back on the market. If they go against the public will on this issue, they can expect a conflagration in constituencies across England. It would be unwise for Government to think that the sale of any significant part of OUR public Forests and woods would pass without reigniting the flames of protest in the hearts of people and forest communities across England. The prospect of any our public woods and forests being threatened again after we have fought so hard to protect them will be met with even more determined campaigning.”
Read more about Our Forests
June 27, 2012
Our Forests was formed to ensure that the public’s concerns and aspirations for our woods and forests are taken into account by the Government-appointed Independent Panel on Forestry, to persuade the NGO community to adopt a more proactive stance on the issue in line with the public’s concern, and to put forward a positive Vision for all of England’s woods and forests. We published a Vision in January 2012.
To explore whether that Vision accorded with what people who are passionate about forests and woods want for the future, the group engaged with members of 38 Degrees via a focus group and through conducting a robust on-line survey that yielded statistically significant results. These activities harnessed the considerable reach and experience of 38 Degrees in bringing together a wide cross-section of people to take action on issues that matter to them (534,000 people signed up to 38 Degrees on-line petition to ‘Save Our Forests!’ ).
- Just under 90% of those surveyed (1,292 respondents – including people from across the UK,
but predominantly England) are ready to campaign against the Government if their concerns
about and hopes for their public woods and forests are not met.
- Over 98% want to see an end to short-termist political interference with our public woods and
- Nearly 90% felt that our public woods and forests merited Government (i.e. public taxpayer)
- 65% of people were prepared to contribute a minimum of £5.00 (33% from £5.00 – £10.00) to
more than £10.00 (32%) per year as taxpayers (current settlement granted to Public Forest
Estate amounts to c. 30p per taxpayer per annum).
- 91% felt the Forestry Commission was ‘needed to look after our woods and forests’.
- 86% of those surveyed support Our Forests’ Vision for ‘one billion more trees’.
- 87% of people supported a doubling of England’s overall tree-cover from 10% to 20% over next
May 18, 2012
The Independent Panel on Forestry is due to release their final report on July 4th. Although much anticipated by all those with an interest in the future of England’s trees and forests, it is likely that Government will issue quickly a holding statement and hold back on a fully-considered response for many months afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Vision presented by Our Forests for the future of England’s trees and forests has been well-received right across the sector and by the public at large. The Ginger Group is now keen to hear the views of the public, particularly from the half a million people that objected so strongly to the Government’s original proposals to sell off England’s public forests, in partnership with 38 Degrees.
Recently, 38 Degrees shared a post on their blog about Our Forests, written by ginger group member Jonathon Porritt. He explained why Our Forests are hoping 38 Degrees members would share their views on the Vision. You can read his blog post here.
Our Forests have come up with some questions they’d like to ask 38 Degrees members. You can answer the questions whether or not you’ve read the report. But if you’d like to read it to see more about the vision, you can download a copy here.
The survey won’t take long to fill in, and the researchers looking at the answers won’t see your name and personal details – just the answers that you give.