date: 27 January 2011
embargo: For immediate release
Government proposals announced today (Thursday) to sell off England's forests and woodlands to private companies or transfer them to charitable trusts could make it much harder for the public to enjoy the countryside, leave charities out of pocket, and will raise little revenue from the public purse, says the TUC.
Commenting on the publication of the consultation document on the future ownership of woodlands like the New Forest and the Forest of Dean, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'The government is barking up the wrong tree with these proposals. Quite rightly public alarm is growing at the privatisation of our most treasured natural assets.
'People appreciate the way our forests are managed for the nation by the professional staff of the Forestry Commission. Volunteer foresters or private companies won't do the job as well and the careful balance between timber, public amenity, bio-diversity and conservation will be lost.
'Everyone who lives or works in our forests, or simply enjoys walking in our woodlands, will want to join with environment, community and trade union campaigners to resist these ill-thought out ideas.'
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Issued: 27 January, 2011