PENDLE Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves is challenging the Government to think again about its proposals to sell off the national forest estate – the forests and woodlands managed by the Forestry Commission.
Lord Greaves has tabled a series of amendments to the Public Bodies Bill, which gives the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs powers to dispose of the forests and woods as she thinks fit.
He is seeking to remove the forestry clauses from the purview of the Bill, and if that is not possible to include safeguards over public access, landscape and wildlife issues, and local consultation.
The Public Bodies Bill is presently in its committee stage in the House of Lords and the forestry clauses are expected to be debated at the end of February. The government has just launched a public consultation on the future of the forestry estate which can be found by clicking on the link on the right.
Lord Greaves said: “There is a huge amount of concern in the country to selling off all the state-owned forests and woodland. Already 336,000 people have signed at national petition organised by 38 Degrees and there are lots of other petitions about particular woodlands and forests.
“We are working with many of the campaign groups to make sure that the government is held to account as this Bill goes through the House of Lords and respond to the genuine fears that people have about the future of so many important woods and forests in England.”