Freelance consultant for digital heritage

The Coalition Government want to sell off all English forests

I am positively boiling with anger. I write this as a person who is normally one of the most laid-back and calm people you could wish to meet. Why? I have just read in the Guardian that the current UK coalition government are seriously suggesting that all English forests should be sold off.  That’s all 635,000 acres of woodland cared for by the Forestry Commission, including all ancient woodlands, royal forests, heathlands, everything:

We now know, thanks to the junior environment minister Jim Paice’s frank evidence to a recent House of Lords select committee, that the government is considering the sale of not just “some”, or even “substantial”, amounts of woodland as the public was originally led to believe, but of all state-owned English trees across the commission’s 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms and sporting estates.

I want to say something more eloquent about how this makes me feel, but right now I am rather lost for words. I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean that all woodland will be chopped down, but there is something rather sacred to me about our forests being owned by everyone, protected for the good of the people. I worry about how it will all be managed, and how it may affect access to the woods. The thought that many trees could be chopped down to make way for development is particularly worrying.

Let’s hope that we can put a stop to this ridiculous proposal. It makes me hate bankers even more to hear that we are forced to sink this low.

Mottisfont Woods, Hampshire. Thankfully under the ownership and care of the National Trust.