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National Forestry Sell-off

What's the real agenda?

Today I was asked to sign an on-line 'Save Our Forests' petition, which has already collected 450,000 objections to the proposed government sell-off.

The Forestry Commission manage nearly a million hectares of National forest land and plant around 24 million trees every year. They sustainably harvest almost five million tonnes of wood every year from Britain's public forests. That's around 44 per cent of total domestic production or 300 truckloads every day, from which the revenue is used to offset the cost of woodland management.

So why would a 'Big Society' driven Conservative government focus on selling off our national woodlands? You can't build on a forest and you can't chop it down and sell-off all of the wood. Where is the value to the purchaser?

In may 2010, the Government introduced the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). A new form of Carbon Tax which requires some businesses to pay £12 / Tonne of CO2 they create. Soon all business will probably have to pay for the energy they uses and pay a separate Tax for the CO2 they create. No doubt that once the Carbon Tax gains traction, 1 Tonne of CO2 will rise to £18, then £24, etc, etc.

I think the real agenda behind the sell-off and privatisation of the nation's forests is to allow private enterprise to cash-in on the future Carbon Offset opportunities.

True Personal Carbon Taxation doesn't yet exist, so the value of a 100 - 300 year old protected mature forest is relatively low but the value of woodland in the future could well increase 100 fold, when it's introduced. Why sell any more woodland when the 'wodland market is low'?. Carbon Trading is already big business and set to grow.

It's also a bit tricky for government to introduce Personal Carbon Taxation when you currently have a stake in 1,000,000 hectares of woodland, funded from taxation.

Surely the 'Big Society' focussed government would seek to preserve your interests in the national carbon-offset assets, rather than sell them for private enterprise to exploit, when future legislation comes into force? Has Thatcher-ism returned?

Another viewpoint on what may be another reason for the governments attempts to sell of the UK's Public Forests.

Ian Swinglehurst
!5th February 2011

Source: http://egham.stainesnews.co.uk/2011/02/national-forestry-sell-off---w.html


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