I'm not sure that the Labour Opposition properly understand today's announcement concerning the Forestry Commission Estate in England. Not surprising - since it was obvious that Labour had little understanding of what had previously been announced. Actually, I don't think Labour wanted to know. Anyway here's the BBC report of the announcement.
Now I greatly support this move. As regular readers will know I considered the Coalition Government's Consultation Document on divesting the Forestry Commission of its forests as a very good working document. I have encouraged the 200 plus who have contacted me to read it and respond to it. I have also sent them all a copy of the Defra Secretary of State's excellent speech introducing the Consultation Document to Parliament.
But there was another related issue which was being largely ignored. For years, the British Government has been selling parts of the forest to raise funds, and the current Government had announced six months ago that 15% of the FC forests in England were to be sold. This was completely separate from the current Consultation Document which referred to the 85% remaining. What happened today was that Caroline Spelman decided to bring this 15% within the ambit of her Consultation Document - which is great news to me. My firm opinion is that the current Coalition Government will bring greater access to England's forests, greater biodiversity, and a more transparent regulatory system - a triple whammy as the Sun might say.