Cuts Watch #349: Celebrities line up to Save Our Forests
Dozens of famous and influential people have signed a letter to today’s Sunday Telegraph opposing the Public Authorities Bill, which “will authorise the Government to sell the whole of our public forest estate to commercial interests on the open market.” (Available here – scroll down to “Government must not sell our public forest”.)
The signatories include the Archbishop of Canterbury; Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate; Tony Juniper, the Special Adviser to the Prince of Wales’ Rainforest Project; Bill Bryson, the President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England; Lloyd Grossman, the Chairman of the Heritage Alliance; Caroline Lucas MP; Ken Livingstone and Roy Hattersley. They argue that
The Government should remove the three ill-conceived clauses from the Public Bodies Bill, and suspend any significant sales, until the public has been fully consulted.
The letter is the latest stage in a growing campaign to defend the National Forest from the government’s cuts. The campaign includes Forestry Commission trade unions, Save our Forests, Save Britain’s Forests, and Save England’s Forests. As we have noted repeatedly, this is a threat that brings together workers in the forests, people who visit the forests, scientists who study the forests and environmentalists who care about what happens to the forests. The breadth of the coalition is shown by the fact that the President of Save England’s Forests is Rachel Johnson, the writer and sister of the Mayor of London.
DEFRA’s position is that “the status quo is not an option.”