24 January 2011

Won't Someone Think of the Trees?

The concept of the commons derives from common land. This still lives on in England, in the form of commons - like Clapham Common - and as national forests that all can use. Against that background, I am naturally appalled that the coalition government proposes selling off our forests in order to raise a few pennies to throw into the bottomless pit of our National Debt.

The campaigning site 38 Degrees if fighting this with a petition, and is also encouraging Brits to write to their MPs. Here's what I've just sent using WriteToThem:

I am writing to you about the proposed sell-off of Britain's forests.

Although I broadly agree that our currently very onerous national debt needs to be reduced, it is important that efforts to achieve this do not result in rash or irreversible actions. I believe that selling off our forests would be such an action.

If forests are sold, they will be bought with a view to profit maximisation. This will inevitably lead to felling and destruction of habitats up to the limit of the law (and probably beyond if buyers think they can get away with it).

Indeed, it is quite likely that many buyers will be from overseas, particularly in those countries that have large cash reserves. They will have no compunction in destroying the environmental resources of another country, since they wish to extract the greatest profit in the shortest time possible, and will certainly not be overly worried about local effects caused by their actions.

Once damaged, these resources will take hundreds of years to regenerate, and may well be lost for ever. At a time when the environment is under pressure on many fronts – not least rising population and climate change – it would be foolish to reduce national holdings of this key assets. If anything, the Government should be *increasing* the extent of national forests.

As well as providing valuable resources, they offer Britons a much-needed refuge from the pressures of modern life. Again, if forests are sold off, access is bound to be reduced (not least by felling activities); this will lead to a general loss of the quality of life – hardly something that the Government should be encouraging.

For these reasons, I urge you not to support these sell-off plans. I would be grateful if you could please convey my concerns to the ministers concerned, and to ask them to reconsider.

If you care about the commons - or just like trees - please consider sending a brief email to your MP.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.


Rob Myers said...

Unless 38 Degrees have stopped signing you up to their spam if you use their site to send an email I won't be using them, and I don't recommend anyone else does either. :-(

Glyn Moody said...

@Rob: how do you mean? if you send the email through them?

I wasn't recommending that, I suggested using WriteToThem...

Anonymous said...

this will make a great shortage of conkers/ Strings!! p