NEW Mon 21st July 2014
SO YOU THOUGHT OUR FORESTS WERE SAFE!
The proposed Infrastructure bill is every bit as dangerous to the future of the Forest of Dean as the original Public Bodies bill which we forced the Government to scrap following the "march in the snow" back in 2011
MAKE NO MISTAKE - UNLESS WE ACT TO SECURE AN EXEMPTION FOR OUR PUBLIC FORESTS, THEY CAN BE SOLD OFF - WHICH IS WHAT THIS GOVERNMENT WANTED ALL ALONG.
Please lobby members of the House of Lords and urge them to support the amendments that will exempt the public forests from this dangerous bill.
Details of how to do this below:-
Why you must write:
In October, the Lords will again debate crucial amendments to the Infrastructures bill. This bill, if unamended, will give the Secretary of State the power to take land from the Public Forest Estate - including any part of the Forest of Dean - and sell it to developers. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is! It is exactly what the Public Bodies bill proposed back in 2010 and which we all fought so hard to successfully oppose.
Our MP, Mark Harper, has refused to support these vital amendments.
The Government say it is not their intention to take any of the public forests - but worryingly, do not want to enshrine this in law. That is why these amendments are vital.
What to write:
However, we strongly recommend that you alter it to make it personal, it is much more effective. If you make the opening paragraph personal then it will be clear to the recipient straight away that you are writing as an individual and it is not part of a mass mailing.
Who to write to:
There are 777 members of the House of Lords, so don’t try to write to them all!
The best ones to choose would be the Cross Benchers and the Lib Dems. No need to write to the Labour members and no point writing to the Conservatives, as if there is a vote it will be whipped. So write as many as you have time for.
And Baroness Jan Royall tells us that whoever else you write to, it would be good to send one to Lord Greaves.
Go to the official website below where it tells you who is who, their email address and the correct title to address them by. You can of course also write a postal letter, which is more bother to do but is very effective.
Wednesday 1st January 2014 2013
Here we go again!
When HOOF, back in February, broadly welcomed the Government's response to the Forestry Panel Report, we said at the time that the devil would be in the detail.
We now know that the detail is very devilish indeed.
Far from embracing the forestry panel's recommendation to put the English forests into the hands of a body of independent, non-political guardians, thus safeguarding them for the foreseeable future, the Government proposals make it clear they want a minister to have total control. How is this different from the original ill-fated Public Bodies bill that we all helped smash?
Not only will this unleash the spectre of privatisation once again, but it will leave the forests, and the Forest of Dean, prey to the whim of whatever government is in power.
The Government has a chance to do the decent, fair and moral thing by putting our forests out of the reach of the greedy and unscrupulous, but I'm afraid it has blown it.
That is why HOOF is meeting as a matter of urgency and why we must all keep up the pressure on the government to abide by their word and do the right thing.
Wednesday 6th February 2013
Seeing The Woods For The Trees
An opinion piece by
Writing about how the Government was forced into its historic U turn, Robin Maynard says:
"It was 'Big Society' ...those half a million people who signed 38 Degrees ‘Save Our Forests’ on-line petition; the dog-walkers, horse-riders, mountain-bikers, fresh-air seeking families; the former mining communities fighting for reforested spoil-heaps, local saw mills dependent on the timber from well-managed FC woods - and especially, the communities living within and working amidst them , the various ‘friends of forests’ groups, amplified by the efforts of Save Our Wood , HOOF and Our Forests."
Tuesday 15th January 2013
Politics and the Panel
An opinion piece by
As the Government’s response to the Independent Panel approaches it’s clear there is only one way out of the political mess the Conservatives landed themselves in. That is to understand, accept and take action to turn the panel’s views into policy ...
Friday 11th January 2013
A drop in the ocean - but a green world of difference
£22 million per year. That's what it costs to keep the Forestry Commission and all the English public forests going. It sounds a lot to you and me, but in the rarified world of government finance it is nothing. It works out at just 30p per year per taxpayer! This is stunning value for money when compared to other important and life-enhancing facilities such as opera, the arts, sport, etc, all of which cost far more.
It is a win win situation for the government and for all of us. For a mere 30p a year, which the public has demonstrated they are more than happy to pay, we get free access to our glorious forests, the lungs of the world, the emerald spaces that calm and revive. Compare that to what you spend a year on, say, TV, cinema, books, or beer and it looks like a no-brainer.
In fact, there is evidence that people would pay more if it meant having an effective and properly funded Forestry Commission who could conduct research into, and prevent, some of the tree diseases that have caused so much devastation recently.
If, as has been rumoured, the government is thinking of running down the Forestry Commission even further and cutting the public funding to our forests by passing on the costs to charities or private concerns - an unacceptable strategy that will seriously jeopardising the future of our forests - it will be guilty of letting down the English people for countless generations to come.
And if, as is also rumoured, the Government makes no provision to recognise the special and unique situation of the Forest of Dean and protect its status by legislation, they will find they have misjudged the mood of the people once again.
Saturday 28th August 2012
Foresters celebrate their victory
- but speakers sound warning note
"This Government cannot be trusted one inch", said keynote speaker Jonathon Porritt
On Saturday 28th July Foresters from all walks of life celebrated the independent panel's report at Speech House with local musicians, invited speakers and a hog roast and bar.
Forester editor Viv Hargreaves introduced the speakers, HOOF chairman Rich Daniels, Baroness Jan Royall, campaigner Jonathon Porritt and Sir Harry Studholme, one of the members of the independent panel who's report backed HOOF's stance to keep the English Forests out of private hands.
Rich Daniels Jonathon Porritt
Jan Royall Harry Studholme
Local musicians Bob Smith, Forest of Dean Brass, Asha Faria-Vare, Max, Gorg n Zola, Muddy Summers, Mike Edwards, and Folklaw performed, and Keith Morgan entertained us with his stories.
Asha Faria-Fare Max
Wednesday 27th June 2012
ENGLAND'S FOREST COMMUNITIES WARN GOVERNMENT
In a strongly worded statement, a consortium of Our Forests, HOOF and many other forest community groups has warned the Government to expect "...a conflagration in constituencies across England." if they do not listen to the public, and press ahead with their original plans to take our woodlands out of public ownership.
For further details see our lead article, centre column, this page
Wednesday 27th June 2012
38 DEGREES LAUNCHES EMERGENCY PETITION
38 Degrees, whose online petition raised many thousands of signatures in support of keeping our woodland in public ownership, have just launched a new emergency petition on the eve of the Independent Panels report, due out on the 4th July.
You can add your name to the new petition here:
Tuesday 22nd May 2012
WOODLANDS CAN BE SOLD OFF FROM 4th JULY SAYS GOVERNMENT
On July 4, when the Government-appointed panel is due to publish its final report, the suspension of woodland sales is also due to be lifted. Outlying woods in the Forest of Dean could be among those of the 40,000ha, or 15 per cent, of woodland the Government has said it intends to sell.
Monday 21st May 2012
FORESTRY PANEL FINAL REPORT DUE OUT
The proposed date for the final report is 4th July
Whatever the panel's conclusions, we must be vigilant. Even if they give us everything we hope for, there is no obligation on Government to accept its findings, so we must be prepared to continue the battle to save our forests for future generations.
The latest Forestry Panel newsletter can be downloaded in PDF format here.
11th August 2011
Excellent response to HOOF's request for your views to the Independent Panel
The Independent Forestry Panel (see main article lower down on right) made it clear they wanted YOUR views and WILL take them into account.
The deadline for submissions ended on the 31st July and indications are that many hundreds of Foresters have written to the panel, many using the HOOF website's form.
It would also appear that the vast majority of people writing to the panel from the Forest of Dean expressed their confidence in the Forestry Commission and actually wanted the amount of forest land owned by the public and managed by the FC to increase.
A huge thank you to everyone who wrote in. The Panel were very impressed with the depth of feeling here in the Forest when they visited in June and will be even more impressed with the submissions.
For all this and more go to our News section
And now you can visit our Archives page for all those stories you may have missed.
HOOF CD NOW AVAILABLE!
BUY ONE NOW AS A MUST-HAVE MEMENTO OF OUR STRUGGLE
But be quick - they will soon be a collectors item!
click image to BUY NOW
HANDS OFF features songs by:
Billy Bragg & Heathens All;
Forest Brass; Dick Bryce;
Mike Edwards; Bob Smith; Max;
Asha Faria-Vare; Ghost of a Dog and Roger Drury & Friends
This CD specially made for HOOF can be bought, priced £5, from the Forest Bookshop in Coleford, Forester office in Cinderford, Forest Review office in Lydney, Brierley Service Station, the Miners' Arms in Whitecroft and at various events.
It can also be ordered online, priced £6 including post and packaging, from the Poet Pilot web site here
The site also includes detailed information about the CD
£4 from each CD will go to the HOOF fighting fund
Many thanks to Mike Edwards who produced the CD, all the Forest artists who play on it and Billy Bragg, who kindly allowed us to use the song This Land from his latest album.
HOOF Rally 3rd Jan
Images, text and links to other reports about the rally have now moved to the Archives page