Letters to the Stamford Mercury, 20 May 2011

Protecting our woodland

Protecting our woodland

ON February 17, Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced the scrapping of the public consultation into the proposals to sell off 85 per cent of Forestry Commission land. It was unclear whether the Government would still proceed with the sale of the remaining 15 per cent of Forestry Commission woodland – currently 15 per cent of commission land can be sold without consultation.

In a letter (March 1) to a local constituent, Nick Boles MP wrote: “The Secretary of State has confirmed that all future sales of forestry by the Forestry Commission will be suspended while the panel of independent experts consider how we can better protect woodlands in the future.”

The Daily Telegraph (April 30) noted that, in March, Caroline Spelman set up a panel to advise on woodland police; she also, “tells the Commons’ environment committee to go ahead with plans to sell 15 per cent of British woodland”.

Regardless of having suspended all future sales of woodland until the advisory panel reports back in the autumn, is the Secretary of State currently selling off the Forestry Commission land without consultation?

What purpose does the independent panel of experts serve; and how does the sale of the woodland, and with it, government control, meet the commitment “to better protect woodlands in the future”?

Perhaps Mr Boles, through the Mercury, will answer these questions and explain what legislation, support and guarantees are now in place to protect the forests, and maintain continued public access, once the foresters have gone and the land is sold?

JOYCE STEVENSON

Obthorpe Lane, Thurlby

Hobo should move date

AM I missing something? The annual Stamford Festival traditionally runs from the end of June to the beginning of July each year concluding on the first weekend in July with the Riverside Festival as its grand finale every year.

We are told that Hobo Festival has applied to hold a two-day family and folk music festival on The Meadows in 2012 which it claims is to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The dates Hobo has applied to run the event from and which Stamford Town Council has given in principle approval to are June 29 to July 2, 2012 (isn’t that four days?) thereby blocking any chance of the Riverside Festival returning to The Meadows in its traditional role and disrupting the main Stamford Festival’s plans as well. The entire nation’s celebrations for the Queens diamond jubilee will centre around the first week of June and will even be marked by a special four-day Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday June 2 to Tuesday June 5, 2012.

Meanwhile Hobo claims: “That seems to be the weekend that everyone is celebrating the Queen’s jubilee that’s why we put in for it”.

This doesn’t say much for its research so far does it? If Hobo and the council are serious about these plans being to “mark the Queen’s jubilee” rather than simply to disrupt two of Stamford’s traditional local festivals, why are they planning to hold it almost one month after the nations celebrations?

Clearly the sensible solution to the clash would be for Hobo to be asked by the council to adjust their plans and apply to hold their event on the correct weekend for these celebrations ie at the beginning of June rather than in July.

The Mercury has reported that the Hobo organisers refused to comment on Riverside but state they want to work with schools and local charities. They seem to have missed the point that Riverside is a local charity.

KEV THURLBY

Cliff Crescent, Stamford

Where’s the democracy?

OK Mr Earl, (letters last week) let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

Apparently you feel we want “a completely new start”. This is to be brought about by the newly installed Duke of Cambridge, who in turn will form a council to “rule us” for “a long period”. How am I doing?

Your reason, or reasons, follow the same old sad myopic set of beliefs. You know that mantra, greedy politicians, no democracy either local or national, etc. Also, as per usual, you fail to put meat on the bones of your ideas. Would you mind if I asked you to answer a couple of questions?

How do you intend to let the Duke take charge? What about Parliament? The Upper House? Who would you expect to be ‘the best and most honest brains? Any names/ideas? Then define what you mean by ‘rule us for a long time’.

And how do or would you ensure that the electorate have a say in this process and also have the power to call time on this ruling council? This last bit would involve a word you always evoke – democracy and if it ain’t then this scheme/fantasy of yours is a dictatorship in the making and you would be a hypocrite.

Finally, Mr Earl as you seem so taken with this young man you might want to find out how he has cost North Wales tax payers £15m. As well as the misuse of an RAF Chinook so he could attend a stag night, among other “training flights”. If that had been an MEP/MP you sure would have been screaming bloody murder. Wonder how you missed these publicised events? Seems a bit selective.

GERARD SKIPPON

Elizabeth Road

Stamford

Legion’s gratitude

ON behalf of Stamford British Legion, say a very grateful thank you to the following stores, who have generously donated items for parcels for the troops – Wilkinson, Julian Graves, Colemans, Card Factory, Walkers, Boots, Supersavers, Clintons, Tim Smith’s.

The parcels were greatly appreciated and we have received letters of thanks from the boys and girls.

So on their behalf, thank you once again.

JOYCE BURTON

Stamford British Legion

As the Poppy Appeal liaison officer (South) I would like to express my thanks, on behalf of the Langtoft, the Deepings and Districts branch of the Royal British Legion to Shotbowl, of Market Deeping, for kindly sponsoring the shirts for the cyclists on the Whitehaven to Whitley Bay Cycle Ride raising funds for the Royal British Legion.

B Marsden

King Street, West Deeping

Write to: The Editor, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Sheep Market, Stamford, PE9 2QZ , go to www.stamfordmercury.co.uk, e-mail smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk or fax 01780 751371