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Earlier this year the coalition government proposed conversational plans to sell off much of England’s forestry and other woodland. After a public outcry the government stood down from it’s position offering to create a panel to report back and suggest the future of the forests.

The independent panel of 12 members, chaired by Right Rev James Jones – Bishop of Liverpool – has now been established and following two meetings is now inviting the views of the people of this country. The task it has been set is not an easy one, over the next 10 months, until April 2012, the panel must discuss and report on the future of Forestry and Woodland in England.

The panel was formed after Caroline Spelman MP, Minster for Environment, was forced into retracting plans she had put forward to sell off much of Englands Woodland & remove the Forestry Commission. Before the retraction, here at CheapTents, we published interviews with Arlene McCarthy MEP and Shadow Secretary for Environment Mary Creagh MP – both of which spoke of the sheer upset felt by the public over this policy. The anger and upset was also made clear by a 38 Degrees Petition which saw over half a million people signatories showing their feelings loud and clear.

Yesterday, May 19th, the panel opened its doors to begin it’s “public discussion” by saying:

The Independent Panel on Forestry would like to hear your views on forests and woods in England, and what this part of our landscape can and should provide, now and in the future. This call for views is the start of an ongoing dialogue with everyone who is interested in forests and woods.

Giving Your Views

Telling the forestry panel what you think is simple, there are 5 questions below (from their website) simply copy and paste them into an email, spend a few moment answering each and send it to the address below. Simple. So whether you live in suburbia with 2 and a half children and enjoy local greenery and woodland, or are a regular rambler through our great forests please please take the next 5 minutes to answer these questions and Save Our Forests.

Questions from the panel:

  1. What do the forests and woods mean to you?
  2. What is your vision for the future of England’s forests and woods?
  3. What do you feel to be the benefits of forests and woods to:
    a) You personally;
    b) Society as a whole;
    c) the Natural Environment; and
    d) the Economy.
  4. We would like to hear about your suggestions of practical solutions and
    good practice which can be replicated more widely.
  5. What do you see as the priorities and challenges for policy about
    England’s forests and woods?

Answers must be received to the addresses below by 31st July 2011.

E-mail your answers to forestrypanel@defra.gsi.gov.uk

You can also print and post your answers to: Secretariat to the Independent Panel on Forestry Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR.

CheapTents will be keeping a close eye on the activity of the panel and keeping you up to date with the latest news, but if you want to know more about the panel and what it does you can also visit the Defra Website.

If you wish to share your views with ourselves as well as defra, you can email them to blog@cheaptents.com and we’ll post a few of them.

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  • Luxury camping

    It’s a disgrace to even consider selling our woodland. There isn’t a huge amount of beautiful scenery left in this country and we’re loosing more all the time.. what is left must be protected! Not sold to the private sector who will no doubt end up charging us to enjoy it

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