Plea to join fight for wood’s future

Have your say

A VOLUNTARY group is appealing for help in saving a wood from any future threat.

Friends of Bourne Wood are asking people who use the wood or people living in the surrounding area to join their campaign to fight against Government plans to sell off the country’s woodland.

The Government has announced that it wants to reform how the country’s forests are managed with diminishing state ownership and the private sector playing a bigger role.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will soon be conducting a consultation into the plans next year.

Bourne Wood has not been listed on land to be sold off by the Forestry Commission next year.

But Friends of Bourne Wood member Ayla Smith is calling on the town and the people who use the wood to write to Environment minister Caroline Spelman and Bourne and Stamford MP Nick Boles to help protect the country’s woodland.

The Friends, which is a voluntary group dedicated to promoting and looking after the wood, is also joining similar groups across the country to fight against the plans.

Mrs Smith said: “We are very keen for individuals to get involved in trying to prevent the sell-off of woodland.

“We would like them to write or e-mail Caroline Spelman to say that they are opposed to the sell-off on the grounds that there will be less land for public access, health and quality of life.

“If we don’t, future generations are not going to be able to experience what we can enjoy - and they are not going to thank us for letting them go without a struggle.”

MP Mr Boles says that he has been told that there is no threat to Bourne Wood by ministers in Mrs Spelman’s department during an event for the Woodland Trust, in Grantham.

Mr Boles said: “I have spoken to ministers who have confirmed that the proposal is to sell a very small percentage of the Forestry Commission’s woodland holdings and that the only woodland that would be sold off will be purely commercial, no ancient or heritage woodland like Bourne Wood and that there are no future plans for Bourne Wood.”

A spokesman for Defra said: “We will consult on our proposals in January to invite interest from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership options and the means to secure public benefits. No decisions have been taken on any particular sites.

“We will not compromise the protection of our most valuable and biodiverse forests.

“The Forestry Commission has and will play an important role in protecting and expanding the trees, woods and forests in England.”