The Forestry Commission must still go ahead with shedding about 40% of their English employee’s jobs. That means all the forest management plans will be in chaos. The Forest Research part of the Commission – doing crucial work to tackle plant disease, monitor climate change and promote timber productivity - faces 25 % cuts. East Sussex forests could be run from Thetford, Suffolk, and their already bare-bones staff of five slashed.
The Commission may have to sell 15% of the estate, if the government demands it. Their DEFRA grant will still be slashed…and the panel of experts appointed by the government to pontificate over the future of our forests will include representatives of the same conservation NGOs who failed to campaign against the privatization, and partially endorsed it, as well as forest industry reps. Both groups share a potential interest in cherry-picking our public forests.
What we stand for:
1. A positive role for an expanded state national forest service and public forest estate in delivering a range of public benefits. No land sales. No job cuts. No funding cuts.
2. Opposition to all conservation NGO acquisitions of privatized FC land. We will seek the compliance of the NGO's with this boycott position.
3. If there is to be a public consultation we want it be grass roots-led. There should be representation from trade unions and grass roots forest defence organisations* on any government advisory panel, and its meetings should be in public. There should be no representation on any advisory panel for organizations who stand to benefit from Forestry Commission disposals.
4. We need democracy in the Commission's management. There should be public and staff representation at district, regional, and national level in Forestry Commission decision making.
*The local grassroots forest campaign groups from across the country have formed a network to work together.
Email for any more info - Keepfirstname.lastname@example.org
FACEBOOK - Keep Our Forests Public
Meet: Exceat car park Friston Forest at 12 noon Located off the Litlington Road, near the junction of A259, by the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre. Map reference: TV 518 995
Speakers: Forestry Commission trade unionist; Kate Ashbrook (Open Spaces Society); Dave Bangs (Keep Our Forests Public).
The rally will be followed by a picnic together & 1.30pm guided forest walk with two stop-and-return points for those who do not want to make the whole ramble. Maximum distance 6 miles. Wear strong walking shoes, bring lunch & refreshments, BRING BANNERS AND PLACARDS, FRIENDS & FAMILY.Transport: From Brighton Bus 12/12A Station 10.38 or 10.53 - opp sea life centre 10.43or 10.58 Bus 13X Station 11.02 sealifecentre 11.14 From Lewes – 10.28 train replacement bus to Seaford, 12bus. Eastbourne -12 bus. Car park £3.50 – please get in touch to offer lifts.