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Feb 1st, 2013

Great news: government agree to protect our forests

By Ortensia Littlewood

Forest Victory Story

Yesterday, after months of deliberations – we have the final, official word from the government that they will do what more than half a million of us asked them to – and protect our nation’s forests for good.

Congratulations! We’ve really, truly, won.

It was a political defeat, and victory for people power they never saw coming.

Click here to see how we made it happen, and then share this image on Facebook.

In late 2010, the government announced a plan to introduce a new law to allow all publicly owned woodlands to be sold off in the future.

The government might have expected a few predictable protests, but there was nothing predictable about what happened next.

  • 538,107 people signed the 38 Degrees petition
  •  More than 100,000 of us contacted our MPs
  •  We funded an independent poll, which found 84% of the public wanted our forests in public hands
  •  Thousands raised nearly £60,000 to pay for ads in national newspapers
  •  More than 30 local campaigning groups sprung into action around the country
  • Over 220,000 of us helped spread the word on social media

When the government finally did admit they got it wrong, they promised to set up an independent forestry panel to advise them on what should be done next.

Again, 38 Degrees members sprang into action:

  • 34,000 of us wrote to the panel to tell them what we wanted for our woodlands’ future – more that 80% of all the responses they received
  •  We gathered in places all over the England, to take pictures and discuss our ideas
  • A big group of 38 Degrees members brought all our ideas, as well as our top three priorities, to a public meeting with the panel in September 2011

And the Independent Panel on Forestry was critical.

They found the government had “greatly undervalued” the benefits woodlands provide for people, nature and the economy. They then called for forest policy to be held in public trust for the entire nation, shielded from political interference – with one member saying, “the tree cycle is wholly different to the electoral cycle.”

So here we are today, more than two years after our campaign began – and the government has at last, quietly issued an official announcement confirming that they won’t try selling off England’s forests again.

That means we’ve done it. Our forests are safe, for good.

It’s thanks to all the people who fought so hard – including over half a million 38 Degrees members – that our beautiful forests and woodlands are now safe for generations to come.

Click here to share the good news, and tell others how people power saved our forests.

Together we should all feel incredibly proud about the part we played in saving England’s wonderful forests and woodlands. Please forgive the long email – but moments like these don’t happen every day. Again, thank you.


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How We Won


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