5,000 signatures reached
To: Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Forest Privatisation by the back door
We want this duplicitous privatisation of the forests through the back door stopped these and any future major development in national forests be subject to independent Environmental Impact Assessments with binding outcomes. Rather than at present being at the discretion of local planning authorities who may be unfamiliar with the EIA process and more concerned about the resource implications than the environmental and ecological impacts
Why is this important?
At Fineshade Woods in Northamptonshire, Forest Holidays are planning to erect 70 deluxe timber lodges with ancillary accommodation, plus a new road, within the woods against the wishes of all the local Parish Councils and with over 200 objections raised. Authoritative organisations such as the Wildlife Trust the Council’s advisors, RSPB, badger groups, bat groups, butterfly organisations and ecologists of many hues have all objected but their views appear to be being ignored by the local planning authority. Requests for at least an Environmental Impact Assessment have been rejected out of hand with statements that there will be no significant environmental damage when 40+ hectares of semi ancient woodland on a Local Wildlife Site that is subject of an application to be considered as a potential SSSI are subject to development. At nine other Forests in the UK and with at least two further planning applications in the pipeline as well planning applications for additional chalets in existing projects, Forest Holidays appear to be being given Carte Blanche to take possession of public Forests and convert them into a private business; they are supported by Lloyds Development Capital and the Forestry Commission.
In Feb 2011 the “save our forests” campaign was considered to be over when the Government said the forests would not be privatised. The Forestry Commission and Directors of Forest Holidays and their financial backers appear to have reversed this policy by taking possession of public forests on 125 year leases and using that natural resource for their personal gain. This must be against the stated policy of the current Government and against the wishes of the 700,000 people who voted supporting the original save our Forest campaign.