Saturday, 29 January 2011

Save England's Ancient Forests

A brief message from the Woodland Trust about their latest "Save England's Ancient Forests" campaign that I think will be of interest;

"Yesterday the Government started a consultation over the future of the forests in England owned by the Forestry Commission, including plans to sell many of them. We have responded by launching our biggest ever campaign: Save England's Ancient Forests.
Please can you support the Woodland Trust by:

1. Signing our petition

2. Forwarding this email to all your friends and family

Ancient woods must be treated as a special case

Ancient woods are the UK's equivalent of the rainforest: unique, irreplaceable and our richest wildlife habitat. The proposals do not treat all ancient woods as a special case: only some are included in the proposed category of heritage woods.
Stronger protection is needed for ancient woods
In the last decade we have fought to protect 850 cases of ancient woods threatened by development. This shows that much stronger protection is needed for these precious places before any sales can be considered.

Planted ancient woods must be restored
The Forestry Commission owns over 20,000 hectares of ancient woods that have been damaged by the planting of conifers. Their restoration to broadleaved woodland would be one of the most significant contributions to wildlife conservation in a generation. We have lobbied passionately for their cause in the media. We have also persuaded government to halt their current back door sales until the consultation is complete. Replanting conifers will smother the life out of these fragile habitats so we need government to guarantee their urgent restoration. 

Public access must be maintained
The passionate outcry about the future of public forests underlines how important access to woods and their beautiful surroundings is to millions of people each year. The Government's proposals to include agreements to maintain existing levels of access to bind future owners are crucial to maintaining this public benefit and we must hold them to account on this.

Transfers to charities must be properly funded
The proposals suggest that some woods could be transferred to charities such as the Woodland Trust. We would welcome the chance to work with government to safeguard the future of planted ancient woods in particular, perhaps through management agreements, but would need substantial and sustained funding from government before we could take over its responsibilities. We are concerned that such funding may be limited in the current economic climate. Stronger protection is therefore also essential.
Please speak up for our much loved woods by signing our petition to government now.
Thank you,
Sue Holden
Chief Executive Woodland Trust
P.S. Please forward this information to your friends and family"