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Please, please, please - take note!!

(27 Posts)
grannyactivist Fri 20-Jun-14 01:17:50

Like many others I campaigned like mad when the government decided they'd like to sell off our Forestry Commission to their cronies. The new Infrastructure Bill has the potential for enabling just that through this sneaky piece of legislation. Those of us who fought to safeguard the nation's woodlands are concerned that the Infrastructure Bill will renew the threat by the back door. The Government having squandered its final opportunity to introduce legislation to give lasting protection to Forestry Commission woodlands in England has instead championed a Bill that overrides current land protections.

Check out this part of the Bill to see this means that without further legislation the Secretary of State can hand over any amount of public land to the HCA (allotments, local parks, woodland, common land, playing fields, village greens....yes, really) who can then dispose of it to developers. There will be no need to go through local authority planning processes – the Sec of State can give approval without any local politicians or planners’ involvement, simply by consulting a panel of just two people.
As for public rights of way, the proposed law allows any of them to be extinguished. Any existing laws that protects land and prevents it being built on, appear to be overriden by one simple enabling clause.

Oops - sorry. In the interests of openness and transparency I should point out that there are one or two notable exceptions to this land-grab free for all:
(6) This section and section 53B bind the Crown, but do not have effect in
relation to property, rights or liabilities belonging to—
(a) Her Majesty in right of the Crown,
(b) Her Majesty in right of Her private estates,
(c) Her Majesty in right of the Duchy of Lancaster, or
(d) the Duchy of Cornwall
angry angry angry angry angry angry angry

Kiora Fri 20-Jun-14 08:32:57

Oh Granny A what can we do to protest? I walk public right of ways it's the best way to see the most wonderful views.

suebailey1 Fri 20-Jun-14 09:11:15

Conservative governments are committed to the privatisation of public sector - end of story!

Anniebach Fri 20-Jun-14 09:20:23

Does this apply to Wales?

Agus Fri 20-Jun-14 09:36:02

Yes Annie. It will give power to Ministers in England and Wales. sad

annodomini Fri 20-Jun-14 09:50:04

This sounds like a campaign for 38 Degrees which has had some success with other campaigns. I suggest that, for a start, we contact our MPs to make them aware of what is going on or they well all sleepwalk through the passing of this iniquitous piece of legislation.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 20-Jun-14 09:55:06

38 Degrees have got a petition going

But it looks like the second reading was two days ago.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 20-Jun-14 09:59:22

another article about it

Mishap Fri 20-Jun-14 09:59:43

I live surrounded by common land. I could not bear to see it go.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 20-Jun-14 10:00:07

Sounds like the Lords will try to get it amended in the final stage.

MiniMouse Fri 20-Jun-14 10:21:48

Well done Jings 38 degrees seem to be gaining momentum in their various campaigns, so here' hoping!

glammanana Fri 20-Jun-14 11:07:03

We have so many fields and playing areas surrounding local schools here on The Wirral & lots of fabulous woodland walks it would be unthinkable if we lost any of it,I have signed the 38 degrees petition needing another couple of thousand to reach the 25K target,lets all tweet/facebook to our friends and try and up the figure as soon as possible.

HollyDaze Fri 20-Jun-14 11:36:23

I wish you well with the fight against this - try contacting the media and get it highlighted as many will not be aware this is happening. See your local councillors and ask them what is planned for your area and what they propose to do to protect it.

To be honest, with all the calls for more housing to house the incoming population, reclaiming some land was going to be inevitable but there does need to be some method involved and it should remain the property of local councils and not private developers (who are already sitting on swathes of undeveloped land to keep prices up).

Flowerofthewest Fri 20-Jun-14 11:50:52

We are at the moment fighting to keep our local Greenway which surrounds our First Garden City. The local authority are planning to build on this land. It is unthinkable, especially because it goes right against the principle of Garden City Development.

annodomini Fri 20-Jun-14 12:01:38

Usually I get all the 38 Degrees emails, but not this one. I wonder why. I have, belatedly, signed the petition.

Anniebach Fri 20-Jun-14 12:11:29

Thank you Agus, so we can expect buildings erected in our national parks and as for the Pembrokeshire Coastal footpath , I live in a national park and dread to think what could be built and where

Lona Fri 20-Jun-14 12:26:48

I've signed and shared on Fb and Twitter.

janerowena Fri 20-Jun-14 12:27:07

I didn't get that petition either, I wonder why?

grannyactivist Tue 24-Jun-14 15:19:32

Quote from George Monbiot in today's press:
The news site Schnews reveals that during the great battle over the coalition's attempt to sell off the public forest estate, which resulted in the government's first major U-turn, one of the campaigners received an anonymous call from a civil servant. "The forests are just the start," he warned. "They are absolutely determined to sell every scrap of public land – beaches, parks, the lot."Is that what this is? I don't know. During the Lords debate, Baroness Kramer insisted that this measure applies only to "surplus land" and "applies only to private rights and not to those that are public". Just one problem: there are no such safeguards in the bill. The word "surplus" does not occur anywhere, and the bill creates specific powers "to extinguish public rights of way". Yes, public – not private. Had Kramer read the bill she moved? Or was she making it up as she went along? In either case, until this is either clarified or struck out, the forests for which we fought so hard and, perhaps, all other state-owned land could be at risk.

durhamjen Tue 24-Jun-14 21:21:50

There's a Woodland Trust campaign about protecting ancient woodlands. The government seems to think it's okay for builders to cut down ancient woodland providing they offset it with planting new trees. Eh?

Eloethan Wed 25-Jun-14 11:51:22

grannyactivist Thank you for raising this issue. I too read the George Monbiot article. What is proposed is very worrying. It will be interesting to see if there is full media coverage and discussion of these proposals.

whenim64 Wed 25-Jun-14 12:23:14

I signed it and shared, too. Worrying to think they could just dispense with woodlands and the habitats of so many animals, birds and insects could be destroyed.

NfkDumpling Wed 25-Jun-14 13:10:16

I've signed and shared. But I don't know if I was sent the petition - there's been so many lately I've deleted before reading.

grannyactivist Wed 16-Jul-14 15:10:12

So now we know:
Yesterday Baroness Jan Royall asked (in the House of Lord's) that there be a condition in the the Infrastructure Bill that public forests cannot be sold off for development. She said, "I wish to speak to Amendment 89 (which calls for the exemption of the Public Forest Estate from sale or 'transfer' proposals via the Homes & Communities Agency )".
The Government (represented by Baroness Kramer) said the Government would "resist" Jan's amendment: "Surplus land can and already does transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency, but the process is more bureaucratic than is necessary. This clause is simply about increasing the rate of delivery by accelerating internal government procedures. The proposed amendments would actually slow down the process by adding further bureaucracy. For that reason, we would resist this amendment because our goal is to increase efficiency in this process, not to slow it down further."
Without this amendment there is NO PROTECTION for our forests. This legislation will enable exactly what the Public Bodies bill proposed back in 2010 and which so many of us vehemently objected to.
I wouldn't be surprised if people are weary of petitions like this, but that's what the Government is banking on I fear. Please sign and share as widely as you can if you value the Public Forest Estate - we have only until October to demonstrate our commitment to keeping our forests public and out of the hands of developers.

Eloethan Wed 16-Jul-14 22:50:55

Thank you grannyactivist. I've signed it.

I don't understand why they say that granting an exemption to all land designated as Public Forest Estate would slow down the transfer of surplus land. Surely Public Forest Estate was exempt, no application could be made anyway?

It's absolutely typical isn't it that the all the royal estates are protected.

I live in a part of east London that borders Epping Forest. It is a wonderful resource, with miles and miles of heath and forestland. Presumably if this bill goes through, this too would be at risk.