Forest panel: getting our voices heard

Forest scene

Photograph by Ivan Dervisevic

UPDATE (25th July):

Over 33,000 of us have answered the panel’s questions. 38 Degrees members are handing in our massive response to Defra in Westminster this Wednesday, 27th July. If you’d like to come along, please send an email to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk.

Back in February, 38 Degrees members won a major victory when we stopped the government’s plans to sell all of England’s publicly owned forests. Now the Independent Panel on Forestry is deciding how they should be managed in future. They’re asking the public to answer a few questions about what the forests mean, and how they should be protected.

Two weeks ago we built a tool making it really easy to answer their questions. Nearly 30,000 of us have already told the panel what the forests mean to us, and what we think the future of England’s forests should be. Here’s what some members have been saying:

Forests and woodland mean escape from the stresses of city life. This means arriving in a wild place and not having to pay to enter public land. As a city dweller, I find them the perfect antidote to urbanisation, a haven for some of our most endangered wildlife and a place anyone can go and relax, regardless of where they’re from or what they earn.

They mean a place for wildlife, for my children to play and make dens, to go on holiday in our caravan and see deer, jays, rabbits and squirrels.

Public, free, permanent access to woodland and forests is amongst the most important reasons to be proud of being British and being able to grow up in Britain.

Forests can be managed to provide lumber, while at the same time maintaining a diverse range of species and maintaining some level of open access.

We’ve got until the 31st of July to make sure the forests panel hears our views. Make sure they come to the best decisions to protect our forests. If you haven’t already, please answer their questions here, and tell your friends and family too!