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Forests: Govt plans job cuts and “asset sales”


5:28 pm - February 2nd 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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As the government claims that it will protect our forests, and not sell them off under their new plans, hundreds of jobs are being cut from the Forestry Commission.

The FC is planning a 25% cut in jobs and a major restructuring could cause 300 job losses in England, with 256 jobs at risk at the Forest Enterprise which runs the public forests.

And while Conservative MPs keep claiming they don’t have any plans to sell forests, in other exchanges in Parliament they say the sale of these “Forestry assets” will contribute towards flood defence.

I’m sure the Chair would be interested to know, because of her interest in flooding, that it would be perfectly possible for us to use the proceeds from sales of these assets towards increasing the capital available for flood defences, for example. We have that assurance from the Treasury and it is very valuable to us.

(hat-tip William Green)

Some MPs have already received hundreds of hostile emails about the proposed sell-off.

The PCS union plan to hold a rally outside the Foresty Commission’s headquarters in Edinburgh tomorrow.
Its general secretary Mark Serwotka says:

These job losses will hit industries and services allied to forestry, have a severe impact on small communities and affect tourism and other services to the 40 million visitors a year to the forests.

The only way to protect staff and avoid the wider impact on jobs and economies from the attack on the forests is to have a properly-resourced Forestry Commission to directly own and run the public forest estate.

Over 410,000 people have now signed the online petition against the forest sell-off at 38 Degrees.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


So what are we to believe? Will they – won’t they? This smells like a kind of CIA information destabilisation tactic – keep them guessing – let them believe we won’t sell the woodlands off – then when the heat of popular outraged opinion cools – do a rapid and low key U-turn and pin-stripe-trouser the proceeds. Flood protection? It’s some kind of protection racket all right. It won’t be the public that want continued rights of access to the woodlands and countryside that get protected Do you honestly think would-be buyers will be honourable enough to keep to pre-sale user friendly assurances? As soon as the sale is completed the new owners will be bleating about ramblers and their ilk causing oak die back – or willow wilt – or some such plague – and must regrettably be kept out. Labour had better take note – this is a very very unpopular measure and it would harvest a great deal of popular support for itself if it moved quickly to promise to take any sold off assets back into public ownership – WITH NO COMPENSATION after the next election. That would make would-be purchasers think twice.

2. Cynical/Realist?

@1 – Flood protection? It’s some kind of protection racket all right.

Nice work!

3. Just Visiting

I guess you don’t live somewhere where flood protection is a real issue: and an expensive one?

Just Visiting;

You guess wrong JV – I live near the east coast of East Anglia – where the prospective unequal task of holding back long forecast floods and sea encroachment has virtually been declared unaffordable. Funnily enough – we live in the Tory heartlands – so presumably it’s a case of sell -off the woodlands before they are submerged. I do hope the fact that this contradicts your smug ‘guess’ won’t cause you unnecessary worry or sleeplessness on our account.
By the way – are you suggesting we can only hope to be saved from floods if the woodlands are sold off? Really?

Just Visiting;

You guess wrong JV – I live near the east coast of East Anglia – where the prospective unequal task of holding back long forecast floods and sea encroachment has virtually been declared unaffordable. Funnily enough – we live in the Tory heartlands – so presumably it’s a case of sell -off the woodlands before they are submerged. I do hope the fact that this contradicts your smug ‘guess’ won’t cause you unnecessary worry or sleeplessness on our account.
By the way – are you suggesting we can only hope to be saved from floods if the woodlands are sold off? Really? If so – you need to ‘just visit’ somewhere else to enlighten your cynical self urgently, my concerned friend – e.g. a library – but make haste – they are going too!

Forestry does help with flood prevention by soaking up heavy rainfall and releasing it over time. Of course, this stops when the trees have been cut down so the timber can be sold for profit.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Govt plans jobs cuts in Forestry and makes plans for "asset sales" http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  2. Double.Karma

    RT @libcon: Govt plans jobs cuts in Forestry and makes plans for "asset sales" http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  3. salardeen

    RT @libcon: Govt plans jobs cuts in Forestry and makes plans for "asset sales" http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  4. sunny hundal

    While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  5. EDI Anti-Cuts

    RT @sunny_hundal: While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  6. cheesley

    Forests: Govt plans job cuts and “asset sales” | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/cVMARa5 via @libcon #condemnation #unite #solidarity

  7. Paddy Eden

    RT @sunny_hundal: While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  8. Marie J

    RT @sunny_hundal: While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  9. Brian Barefield

    RT @sunny_hundal: While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  10. Carl Austin

    RT @sunny_hundal: While claiming to save them, Conservatives plan job cuts at Forestry Commission and “asset sales” http://bit.ly/dHdOJA

  11. How much of our Forests are being sold exactly? | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] reported on the job cuts here […]

  12. Rachel Hubbard

    Forests: Govt plans job cuts and “asset sales” | Liberal Conspiracy http://goo.gl/GPj1e





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