Forest sell-offs

MarkiB mark at
Mon Feb 14 22:56:07 GMT 2011

Fran and Ben extoll the virtues of buying woodland for ownership by the community - which on the surface appears an attractive proposition (chiming with that often unconscious assumption that local always know best). 
However, in doing so, they both appear to have missed Dave's earlier comment about how community buyout in Sussex has led to the loss of coordinated management (eg. coppicing), and so, as a result, a negative impact on biodiversity. 

Perhaps community management would best work if kept firmly under a
regulatory umbrella overseen by the Forestry Commission?

My inclination that community buy out, if it should even happen
at-all, should only be at the margins to protect the national interest of retaining a strategic reserve of forestry for the market in wood does not really stand up to scrutiny because the amount of large commercial forest in England is small (much more in Scotland), and so, in the international free market, this consideration is rendered laregly meaningless. 

In these circumstances, I personally have no absolute ideological objection to public sell off provided every sq inch of that land remains fully protected, it's management is subject to being overseen by the full vigourous regulatory authority of the Forestry Commission, that all public access agreements remain fully in place, and finally that all of the above are held absolutely sacrosanct irrespective of any future governmental change in policy that may seek to compromise on any of the former stipulations (deed of covenant).

However, since I am not satisfied that the government have embarked on
their now stalled attempt at privatisation without ensuring all of these considerations are to be fully adhered to, I have so far been opposed to public sell-off.

Actually, bearing in mind the increased cost in management terms of
regulation as opposed to direct control, the reason the gobvt may have
ditched the proposals is that they've realised that their plans will be costlier in the long run!

Mark Brown (The Land Is Ours)

Latest from 38 degrees:

The government have announced they will pause forest sell-offs for a few
months. It's a brilliant sign, but our forests are still in danger. If we
keep working together, we can save our forests forever - not just for a few

The government is still going full steam ahead with changing the law to
clear the way for a 100% sell-off. It looks like they hope the fuss will
die down if they pause a few sales here and there - so they can press on
with quietly scrapping legal protection for our public woodlands.

Our petition is now 490,000 strong. Let's show the government we will keep
campaigning until English forests are safe, by making sure the petition
passes half a million signatures today.

Please forward this email and ask your friends to sign:

Picture yourself in the last forest you visited. Remember how you felt,
what you saw, how peaceful it was. Now imagine hearing that this beautiful
place has been auctioned off. We just can't let it happen!

By working together, bit by bit, we are protecting our woodlands for
future generations. Since 38 Degrees members voted to launch this campaign,
we've spread the word, emailed our MPs, and chipped in to pay for opinion
polls and adverts. It’s starting to work - today is a time to celebrate.
But we also need to keep the pressure building.

Please forward this email and ask your friends to help get our petition
past half a million signatures today:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Diggers350]
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 08:41:51 +0000
From: Fran Ryan <Fran at>
To: Ben Mathers <benjaminmathers at>

I have fantasised about setting a national community land trust and 
fund, to buy the woodland for the benefit and use of local communities. 
this would be a way of securing it in the public domain in perpetuity. 
Maybe community bonds could be part of how it could be funded. Sadly I 
don't have the energy or time or expertise to do this.

But with so much stuff on the verge of being sold off (other bits of 
land such as county farms, school playing fields etc,) all then gone for 
ever it would be great if we could muster some energy to make a 
concerted effort to capture the land for local people for ever.

Fran Ryan
Oxfordshire Community Land Trust

On 10/02/2011 13:12, Ben Mathers wrote:
> I did get in contact with the folks managing their South Wales
> properties asking about their attitude to One Planet Development and
> whether there was anything in their covenant stopping people from living
> on the land and the woman I contacted definitely said that there wasn't.
> The only issue she thought would be with the planning department...
> Wouldn't it be great though if someone could buy these bits of woodland
> and then split them up and sell them for the £1,800 that was paid, does
> anyone know of anyone thinking of doing something like this? Even if you
> were to sell them for £2,800 you'd still be making a whopping £54,000
> profit for doing nothing! I mean if a trust was set up to do something
> similar that money could then go into buying some more land and doing
> likewise, obviously with a strict covenant on the land ensuring low
> impact principles with areas of common land etc etc. I know this is
> probably something most people on this email group think about, but
> really it wouldn't need a very big initial outlay (well not very big for
> some people at least!). What is stopping people I wonder?
> Ben
> On 9 February 2011 10:01, John Boshier <john at
> <mailto:john at>> wrote:
>     They may be unpleasant, but they do seem to be open to discussing
>     Planet Developments in Wales, See
>     . I think the wording has changed a bit, as when I looked on their
>     recently I think they said they would not object to it, and I've
>     this from another source.
>     If anyone knows more I would like to know. I'm going to be producing
>     One Planet Development newsletter, and am organising meetings to
>     people get started on low-impact development in Wales. You can sign
>     to the newsletter at ,
>     and
>     I'd welcome any contributions to the newsletter.
>     John
>     On 07/02/2011 00:14, offgriduk wrote:
>      > I see the unpleasant <> was
>     one of the early beneficiaries of the forest sell-off (Sunday Times
>     6/2/11) - buying 54 acres of glorious wood near Market Rasen.
>      >
>      > They paid GBP1800 per acre and will sell for GBP9000, removing
>     the wood from public access and at the same time preventing the new
>     owners from doing more than asset-stripping through the restrictive
>     covenants they add to the sale - such as no living on the site.
>      >
>      > I would like to have a go at preventing
>     <> from buying further forests in the current
>     selloff - if anyone has the necessary info, please send to
>     nick at <> and I can put it
>     fully in the public domain

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