Government in fresh u-turn over sale of forests

John Healey MP thanked everyone who joined the campaign to keep woodland in England in public hands after the Independent Panel on Forestry ruled that they should not be privatised.

Last year, over half a million people signed a petition against the Government’s plans to sell off England’s forests and Ministers were forced to set up an Independent Panel on Forestry to look at the issue.

More than 50 people wrote to John and he spoke up for them in Parliament.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has now completed the Government u-turn and announced that the public forests would remain in public hands. Her announcement guarantees that 285,000 hectares of woodland will not be sold off and will remain available to the public.

John said: “The Tory-led Government’s out of touch proposal to sell off our forests shocked many people who love our ancient forests and woodlands and enjoy spending time in them.

“The thousands of people who signed the petition against the forestry sell-off should be proud that their contribution made a real difference. This policy should never have been announced in the first place but I’m delighted that our woodland in South Yorkshire is now safe.

“We have beautiful woods that local people have enjoyed for generations, and will continue to enjoy for years to come.”