The Forest Of Dean is an amazing resource for all types of cycling, downhilling to XC but it’s under threat due to the Governments planned massive sell-off of Forestry Commission woodland.
The woods that contain your favourite downhill runs and trails could be auctioned and fenced off, logged or turned into golf courses and holiday villages. It’s that serious!
If you’re a local then show your support by joining the “Hands Off Our Forest” rally, 12.30pm at Speech House, Monday January 3rd 2011.
Speech House is just up the road from Pedalabikeaway so if you’re planning a days riding why not pop along and show your support first.
Checkout the map if you’re lost.
If you haven’t already…then sign the Save Our Forests petition over one hundred thousand have already signed.
Here’s the info from the Forest Of Dean and Wye Valley Review:
LEADING environmentalist, Jonathon Porritt, the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill and Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Jan Royall, will all be speaking at what promises to be a rousing Hands off Our Forest rally next Monday (January 3).
Events start at 12.30pm with a procession through the Cyril Hart Arboretum accompanied by the Forest of Dean Brass Band.
After gathering in Speech House Meadow, there will be short speeches from Jan Royall, Jonathon Porritt, the Bishop of Guildford and Eric Morris on behalf of the Freeminers’ Association among others.
There will also be music, a community singalong and a fire sculpture by Phil Bews as well as a Hands off Our Forest information stand and letter-writing station.
To find out more see the attached poster or go to www.handsoffourforest.org/
Meantime, Mr Jim Paice MP, the minister in charge of charting the Public Bodies Bill (giving ministers the power to sell-off public forests among other things) appeared before a select committee sub-committee inquiry on forestry. A record of the meeting on November 24 has been published.
Addressing a question from Lord Cameron of Dillington’s, Mr Paice answered: “Part of our policy is clearly established: we wish to proceed with, to correctly use your word, very substantial disposal of public forest estate, which could go to the extent of all of it. As I said earlier, the precise detail of who it will go to and in what form has yet to be decided.”
TO THE LORDS
A COUNCIL delegation is going to the House of Lords on Monday January 10 to present the case for exempting the Dean from an England-wide sell off of public forests.
The delegation follows narrow approval (by one vote) of a motion by Cllr Andrew Gardiner which reads:
“To avoid attempts which could lead to the privatisation of the Royal Forest of Dean – this council should do everything in its power to consolidate and enhance the exemption from sale pertaining to the Statutory Forest of Dean and the protected contiguous woodlands of Highmeadow, Clearwell and Hope.
“Furthermore, because an enabling bill would empower ministers to act unilaterally and remove effective parliamentary scrutiny, this Council should seek to extend and consolidate the protective designation of the Forest afforded by Section 38 (2A) of the Forestry Act 1967.”
Cllr Gardiner’s resolution means the council will also be writing to Mark Harper MP and the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP requesting support for exemption for the Forest.