Jonathon Porritt has written a blog to let 38 Degrees members know about Our Forests new report on the future of England’s woodlands. Now, the group want to know what 38 Degrees members think about what they’ve written so far:
“At the moment when the Government withdrew its crass proposals to sell off the whole of the Public Forest Estate this time last year, I expect that the same Sun-style heading came into all our minds: “It was 38 Degrees wot won it”. And so it was – along with some brilliant grass roots campaigning and an impressive media campaign.
Sadly, as we know, many of the big NGOs such as the National Trust, Woodland Trust and the Wildlife Trusts were not involved in that campaign. Perhaps without meaning to they had even allowed government ministers to think that the proposed sell-off wasn’t such a bad idea after all. That was one of the reasons a small group of campaigners set up Our Forests, as a ginger group to put pressure on the non-governmental organisations to do better next time – especially as many of them are now represented on the Independent Panel hastily set up by the Government to diffuse the intense anger at that time.
But we also wanted to produce a more positive Vision for the woodlands and forests of England and Wales – we couldn’t believe how negative everyone had been about the opportunity not just for improving the existing Public Forest Estate (by giving it a new inalienable ‘status’ and ensuring continued public funding), but for bringing poorly managed woodlands into productive use – and for planting the equivalent of a new Domesday Forest (1 billion more trees!) over the next few decades.
Happily, that vision has been very well received – and we’d now like to find out what members of 38 Degrees think about it. I do very much hope you’ll have time to answer the few questions that we’ve developed around this.
It’s all in a good cause. We still need to persuade the Independent Panel to be suitably robust and visionary in terms of its final report to Defra – and your feedback will help us greatly in that regard. This is really the next phase in the campaign – and will ensure that 38 Degrees continues to demonstrate real leadership on this critical issue.
Members of ‘Our Forests’ are Hen Anderson, Richard Daniels, Gabriel Hemery, Tony Juniper, Rod Leslie, Robin Maynard and Jonathon Porritt.
What do you think about Our Forests report? Which ideas do you like? Are there parts of the report you don’t agree with? And what else should they include next time? Share your ideas in the comments section below.