Jun 30th, 2011
Protecting our Forests – what next?
By Rob Machin
Just a few months ago, over half a million of us came together to win an incredible victory. Against the odds we convinced the government to abandon their plans to sell our forests. Together we sounded the alarm with a massive petition, thousands of emails to MPs and national newspaper ads. People power worked!
But our forests could still be at risk. When the government abandoned their forest sell-off plans, they said they’d set up an “independent panel of experts” to help decide the future of our woodlands. Now, that panel is up and running. They’ve said they want to hear ideas from thousands of us about the best way to protect our beautiful forests for our children and grandchildren.
We don’t have long. We’ve got until the end of July to answer their questions about our woodlands. We need to make sure that they get tens of thousands of messages telling them how much we love our woods, as places to learn, play, walk, cycle, and much more.
Can you take 2 minutes to answer the panel’s questions now? A flood of messages will show the panel that the public wants our forests protected, not sold off to private companies. We’ll collect all our answers together, and hand them over to the panel as a huge, people-powered message – protect our forests.
The panel has just started work. But we know they answer to Caroline Spelman, the same minister who cooked up the plans to sell the forests in the first place. So, although the panel could make sensible plans for our woodlands’ future, they could be under pressure to rubber-stamp more sell-offs. Together, we can stop that happening.
The five questions the panel are asking aren’t complicated and you don’t need to be an expert to answer them. Anybody who cares about our forests can have a say. They’re asking things like, “what do forests and woods mean to you?” There are five questions all together. But if you’ve only got time to answer one or two, that’s fine as well.
Over half a million 38 Degrees members have already done an incredible job of protecting our woodlands. Now, we need to work together to make sure this panel knows how many of us care about our forests, and don’t want the government to try and go ahead with another sell-off.