National Forestry Sell-off
What's the real
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.
!5th February 2011