Despite two democratic defeats, the Tories are STILL privatising our forests

Now imagine it filled with holiday cabins and a sewage treatment plant.

Now imagine it filled with holiday cabins and a sewage treatment plant.

Do you remember when the Conservative-led Coalition government relented on its plan to sell off our public forests into private ownership? It was only last November.

Here’s how Vox Political reported it. The article said the then-Infrastructure Bill would give Government agencies carte blanche to hand over any public land – including countryside and forests – to private developers.

But the article said campaigning organisation 38 Degrees had fought off this underhanded plan by the government: “They U-turned and made changes which will mean our forests are protected – in law.”

This was the second attempt by the government to sell off our forests. The first was abandoned in 2011.

Now it seems the Tories want to make it third time lucky.

The Guardian is reporting that there are plans to build luxury holiday cabins, majority-owned by venture capitalists, in public forests, putting protected wildlife and their habitats at risk.

Mark Avery writes: “One of my local woods, Fineshade wood in east Northamptonshire, is owned by me, and you, and every other taxpayer, as it is owned by the Forestry Commission (FC), a non-ministerial government department.

“Despite its wildlife, landscape and wider social value, the FC believes that Fineshade wood is the right place to plonk down 70 luxury holiday cabins, extra roads, and a sewage treatment plant. These would be built and managed by Forest Holidays, a company largely owned by venture capitalists, Lloyds Development Capital, in which the FC (ie you and me) has a small and diminishing holding. The development will be considered by East Northants Council on Wednesday evening.”

Didn’t we all decide, democratically, that this privatisation of our public forests should not happen?

But here it is.

And only days after we heard the Coalition in the House of Lords had voted to overturn regulations that would keep our drinking water safe from the effects of fracking. Greedy little piggies.

Is it time for another 38 Degrees petition? Or have the architects of this betrayal ensured that it is already too late?

Whatever happens, this is further proof that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats don’t believe in democracy.

They knew that the public wanted these forests to be safeguarded forever, but they are allowing them to be sold into private hands anyway.

Why, then, do they want us to – democratically – elect them back into Parliament?

Since they do not believe in democracy, they should not be part of it.

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18 thoughts on “Despite two democratic defeats, the Tories are STILL privatising our forests

  1. Florence

    Privatised by stealth by those who own vast estates, including the grouse & deer shoots.

    Once again, the feudal lords trample on the public, disregarding our democratic will. Makes a democratic change of govt on May look shaky, if they hold us in such unrivalled contempt would it be beyond them to bind us to an unelected gvt again?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, the Forestry Commission runs these areas of forest land on behalf of the people of the UK – and has no right to sell them to anybody for development.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sorry Rob, I see what you mean. It wouldn’t stop them trying to do it in Wales, once there’s a precedent across the border, though.

      2. Rob

        Well, I was trying to give you an open goal of the “look how Labour have protected Wales from this nonsense, given the chance” type.
        Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered.

  2. Mr.Angry

    Never truer words, Since they don’t believe in democracy, they should not be part it.

    Evil to the core.

  3. paulmac49

    This has been a dictatorship government since 2010, they have gotten away with murder for the past four and a half years.

  4. nightentity

    What a hell of a mess they are going to leave this country in,will we soon be tugging our forelocks to them? Whatever government gets in next (Labour I hope) is facing a mess to beat all messes ,Goodness help them and us x

  5. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    The lack of honesty and integrity by this party is beyond belief. Where profit comes in their sights nothing is safe.

    If this so-called government is re-elected then nothing will be safe from privatisation and theft and anyone who votes for any party now, other than Labour, will be responsible for assisting it.

    I do not denigrate the Green party by my comments as I know thay have many very good points but at this dangerous point in the election every vote not given to Labour is a vote to assist the Cons.

    1. Daniel

      I’d agree with your comments regarding seats where the cons and lib dems hold a small majority, but there is more at stake than just ensuring this lot get in. Our whole electoral system is undemocratic and needs change, which is where minority parties like Greens and (dare I say it) UKIP come in – not that I’d expect UKIP to support democratic change, since they oppose the far more democratic (but still not democratic enough) EU!

      In marginal seats, people should, nay must vote for Labour, since they will be in the best position to remove the incumbent Conservative or Liberal Democrat MP. In so-called safe seats though, voting for a fringe party may have a more potent affect – the Lib Dems f***ed up the Electoral reform so badly needed (one wonders if Nick “I’m a Tory really” Clegg did that on purpose?) so strong support for Greens, TUSC et all could prompt calls for a more robust change to the way MPs are elected.

      I repeat, if you’re in a marginal, or non-safe, Lib Dem or Cons seat, VOTE LABOUR. Otherwise, in a safe seat, vote with your conscience. Getting this coalition out of power is the number one priority!

      (To see if you’re in a marginal, look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_2010_United_Kingdom_general_election_by_parliamentary_constituency )

  6. Thomas

    The Conservatives won’t stop until they have ruined the woodlands of the UK in one way or another. If they can’t block people from entering them, then they build things in them that most people can’t afford to use and that drives away the wildlife.

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