Public consultation on the privatisation of England's forests has begun.
The government's Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), wants the future ownership and management of public forests in England to be put into private hands. This means substantial areas of woodlands in England that is currently managed by the Forestry Commission would be sold off.
Defra is proposing: "a new approach to ownership and management of woodlands and forests, with a reducing role for the state and a growing role for the private sector and civil society".
Environmental organisation, such as the Woodland Trust, believe that ancient forests are special and should be protected. If they are sold off, they could potentially be damaged or even lost altogether.
The Woodland Trust's website says: "So often described as our equivalent to the rainforest, ancient woodland is defined as a habitat of extraordinary continuity which stretches back hundreds - even thousands - of years. Ancient woods therefore are fragile, highly sensitive to change and completely irreplaceable."
It is putting together a petition to save our ancient forests. Many people have already signed this, but if you haven't you still have time. You can sign it here: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/save-ancient-forests/Pages/fc-disposals-act-now.aspx
The consultation began at the end of January and runs until April, and you can read Defra's consultation document here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/forests/index.htm
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