Delyn MP David Hanson is urging Tory and Lib Dem MPs to vote for an opposition motion tomorrow to rethink plans to privatise England’s forests.
The Conservative-led government have announced their intention to sell off Forestry Commission land in England before consulting on the proposals. They have failed to provide any assurances that important safeguards will be met.
Labour is opposed to Government plans which contain no assurances on: public rights of way; purchasers of land being obliged to maintain paths and trails; the sale of timber being balanced with environmental concerns; and an appeals process governing disputes remaining in place.
David Hanson said:
“The Conservative-led government has already promised to sell off 15% of English woodland, and new legislation will give it the power to sell the rest. This amounts to over 1,000 woods covering a massive 258,000 hectares. This would represent the biggest change in English land ownership since the Second World War.
“Whilst I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly is not going down this route, many people in Flintshire enjoy using the woodland across the border in areas like Delamere Forest. I have received dozens of emails on this matter in the last few weeks.
“The public forest estate may account for only 18% of the woodland in England but it makes up nearly half of the publicly accessible woodland. In terms of accessibility of private woodland that tells its own story.
“The Conservative government say they need to make this saving. The Forestry Commission costs each of us 30p a year to keep our countryside maintained and accessible to all – that surely is a price worth paying.”