No doubt you have heard of the recent talks about the government’s proposition to sell of sections of British forests to private bidders. If these plans go ahead, then we could see national treasures such as the Forest of Dean, Sherwood Forest and New Forest sold off to private investors. And the bad news is that once they are gone... they are well and truly gone.
What seems to make the whole thing worse is that the motive for the sale doesn’t quite seem to add up. Sales of the national forests would create a really rather small amount of revenue for a short term goal; when the lasting effect may be much more damaging. When compared to the prolonged value and importance to which they hold for the vast majority of British people it seems like a crazy thing to do; both in financial terms and from an ethical standpoint. As the Woodland trust have said, “This sale is likely raise a tiny amount but could do immeasurable damage and cost the nation dearly”.
In fact there it has even been suggested that, rather than generating an income (modest though it may be) a forest sell off could actually cost the tax payer more money. See this article in the Daily Telegraph for more information.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the whole debacle is the thought that even more of British forests and trees will be cut down. Historic figures suggest that over the last 5,000 we have lost up to 90% of British Forest land; a scary figure. But figures don’t show the full picture, the really scary part will be not having those forests left to enjoy anymore. Of course the potential threat of the forests being sold off to private investors will be that we no longer have a say in what happens. And of course, as they say... ‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone’, private logging firms will be free to cut down the rest of what is left.