Friday, 7 January 2011

Leave our forests alone.

It would seem nothing is safe from the threat of privatisation. First we had the NHS, now it seems we're going to sell of our forests, the timber companies must be rubbing their hands with glee. We were even told by Cameron in 2007 that 'other countries cutting down forests' were 'barmy'. How times change.

For Sale: The Lake District

This isn't the first time something like this has been tried, back under Major in 1992 the government made plans to sell of the nations forests, only to shelve the idea after a massive public outcry. But it seems all the more odd that this new proposal has come from a government which promised to be 'the greenest ever.' You can't claim to be fighting climate change, whilst in the same breath sanctioning the cutting down of thousands of trees which act as net CO2 absorbers.

What with the sale of the forests and the changes announced by Eric Pickles to make it 'much easier to get planning permission', it will be easier than ever for timber companies to cut down spectacular woodland for a quick profit.

As well as the environmental argument and its beauty, there are sound economic reasons not to sell off the forests. The sale will raise only £2bn, but there are so many benefits that we will lose in one stroke. Indeed, a government study earlier in the year put the value of the forests at £2,100 per hectare per year when you factored in all the benefits from pollution absorption, health provision, erosion protection and carbon sequestration.

Already a petition from 38 degrees has gained over 120,000 signatures (at the time of writing), and you can add your name here.

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