Sun 11th Jan 2015
Just to remind what this all about, here is our original submission to the Indepent Panel way back in June 2011. Read it and you will see why it is as relevant today as it was was then. It makes it all too clear that we are not out of the woods yet.
Incidentally, it makes a very good read, reminds us all what a wonderful place we live in and has some great photographs
Thurs 20th Nov 2014
HOOF success: Government confirms all forest land protected
HOOF has always asked that ALL the public forest estate - whether in use or not, whether afforested or not, whether designated waste or not, should be exempt from the infrastructure bill.
The Government has now stated unequivocally that none of our forest land is at risk from land transfer schemes in the Infrastructure Bill. Ministers bowed to tremendous pressure from Jan Royall and peers from all sides of the Lords Chamber, HOOF, Save Our Woods, 38 Degrees and others.
Baroness Kramer, Minister for Transport, told Parliament:
"The amendments prevent the transfer of any land held by the Secretary of State that has been acquired - remember, this is government owned land - or is treated as having been acquired under Section 39 of the Forestry Act 1967. As I said earlier, that covers all land that is under the management of the forestry commissioners at any given time—whether by freehold or leasehold—and includes any land that is not being used for afforestation but is still under the management of the forestry commissioners or is not being used for purposes connected with forestry.
"The provision is widely drawn. Not only does it include forest waste, it includes the kind of ancillary facilities that many noble Lords have pointed out are necessary. Indeed, there is not even a necessary test: it simply has to be under the management of the Forestry Commissioners. I am sure that that is exactly what the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, and the various campaigners were attempting to achieve."
"This was a quiet revolution by men who knew their rights and were determined to get them legally acknowledged and preserved in written evidence so that they could not be overturned again. They were... securing their future, and they knew that had to be done in writing"
These quotes sound as if they were written about the HOOF campaign. In fact they appear in a book by Juliet Barker about the Peasants revolt of 1381. Some things never change!
Wednesday 1st January 2014 2013
Here we go again!
When HOOF, back in February, broadly welcomed the Government's response to the Forestry Panel Report, we said at the time that the devil would be in the detail.
We now know that the detail is very devilish indeed.
Far from embracing the forestry panel's recommendation to put the English forests into the hands of a body of independent, non-political guardians, thus safeguarding them for the foreseeable future, the Government proposals make it clear they want a minister to have total control. How is this different from the original ill-fated Public Bodies bill that we all helped smash?
Not only will this unleash the spectre of privatisation once again, but it will leave the forests, and the Forest of Dean, prey to the whim of whatever government is in power.
The Government has a chance to do the decent, fair and moral thing by putting our forests out of the reach of the greedy and unscrupulous, but I'm afraid it has blown it.
That is why HOOF is meeting as a matter of urgency and why we must all keep up the pressure on the government to abide by their word and do the right thing.
Wednesday 6th February 2013
Seeing The Woods For The Trees
An opinion piece by
Writing about how the Government was forced into its historic U turn, Robin Maynard says:
"It was 'Big Society' ...those half a million people who signed 38 Degrees ‘Save Our Forests’ on-line petition; the dog-walkers, horse-riders, mountain-bikers, fresh-air seeking families; the former mining communities fighting for reforested spoil-heaps, local saw mills dependent on the timber from well-managed FC woods - and especially, the communities living within and working amidst them , the various ‘friends of forests’ groups, amplified by the efforts of Save Our Wood , HOOF and Our Forests."
Tuesday 15th January 2013
Politics and the Panel
An opinion piece by
As the Government’s response to the Independent Panel approaches it’s clear there is only one way out of the political mess the Conservatives landed themselves in. That is to understand, accept and take action to turn the panel’s views into policy ...
Friday 11th January 2013
A drop in the ocean - but a green world of difference
£22 million per year. That's what it costs to keep the Forestry Commission and all the English public forests going. It sounds a lot to you and me, but in the rarified world of government finance it is nothing. It works out at just 30p per year per taxpayer! This is stunning value for money when compared to other important and life-enhancing facilities such as opera, the arts, sport, etc, all of which cost far more.
It is a win win situation for the government and for all of us. For a mere 30p a year, which the public has demonstrated they are more than happy to pay, we get free access to our glorious forests, the lungs of the world, the emerald spaces that calm and revive. Compare that to what you spend a year on, say, TV, cinema, books, or beer and it looks like a no-brainer.
In fact, there is evidence that people would pay more if it meant having an effective and properly funded Forestry Commission who could conduct research into, and prevent, some of the tree diseases that have caused so much devastation recently.
If, as has been rumoured, the government is thinking of running down the Forestry Commission even further and cutting the public funding to our forests by passing on the costs to charities or private concerns - an unacceptable strategy that will seriously jeopardising the future of our forests - it will be guilty of letting down the English people for countless generations to come.
And if, as is also rumoured, the Government makes no provision to recognise the special and unique situation of the Forest of Dean and protect its status by legislation, they will find they have misjudged the mood of the people once again.
Saturday 28th August 2012
Foresters celebrate their victory
- but speakers sound warning note
"This Government cannot be trusted one inch", said keynote speaker Jonathon Porritt
On Saturday 28th July Foresters from all walks of life celebrated the independent panel's report at Speech House with local musicians, invited speakers and a hog roast and bar.
Forester editor Viv Hargreaves introduced the speakers, HOOF chairman Rich Daniels, Baroness Jan Royall, campaigner Jonathon Porritt and Sir Harry Studholme, one of the members of the independent panel who's report backed HOOF's stance to keep the English Forests out of private hands.
Rich Daniels Jonathon Porritt
Jan Royall Harry Studholme
Local musicians Bob Smith, Forest of Dean Brass, Asha Faria-Vare, Max, Gorg n Zola, Muddy Summers, Mike Edwards, and Folklaw performed, and Keith Morgan entertained us with his stories.
Asha Faria-Fare Max
Wednesday 27th June 2012
ENGLAND'S FOREST COMMUNITIES WARN GOVERNMENT
In a strongly worded statement, a consortium of Our Forests, HOOF and many other forest community groups has warned the Government to expect "...a conflagration in constituencies across England." if they do not listen to the public, and press ahead with their original plans to take our woodlands out of public ownership.
For further details see our lead article, centre column, this page
Wednesday 27th June 2012
38 DEGREES LAUNCHES EMERGENCY PETITION
38 Degrees, whose online petition raised many thousands of signatures in support of keeping our woodland in public ownership, have just launched a new emergency petition on the eve of the Independent Panels report, due out on the 4th July.
You can add your name to the new petition here:
For all this and more go to our News section
And now you can visit our Archives page for all those stories you may have missed.
HOOF Rally 3rd Jan
Images, text and links to other reports about the rally have now moved to the Archives page