Thursday, 9 December 2010

Save Our Forests Campaign

I sent this letter to Lord Hunt of Kings Heath recently as part of the Ramblers campaign to keep access to rights of way through Forestry Commission land.


Dear Lord Hunt

I am a passionate walker and live in the midst of the National Forest, much of which is locally owned or managed by the Forestry Commission.

I am therefore writing in connection with the Public Bodies Bill that is currently in Committee in the
House of Lords. Whilst not all land accessed by the public must be publicly owned, it is vital that any sale of Forestry Commission land be carefully managed, with public access as a top priority.

I am very keen that community groups are able to take a more active involvement in their local woodland, but it is important that everyone’s ability to continue to access and enjoy British woodland is at the forefront of any sale agreement.

I would like you to ensure that five key criteria are included on the face of the Bill itself – to be met before any sale of Forestry Commission land is considered.

1) Public access is maintained and enhanced.
2) Public rights of way and access land are properly managed.
3) No sale or transfer is completed until the purchaser has committed to preserving and maintaining access.
4) Where access is currently not secured in law, this is remedied through CROW Act dedication.
5) The local community is consulted and given the opportunity to play a full and active part in woodland management, including first-refusal on purchase.

I would urge you to raise these concerns in debate, and ensure that the Public Bodies Bill will not damage the interests of walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Best regards

Barry Thomas
Eva Hartson-Sanders
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Also look here:

38 Degrees | Save Our Forests

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