According to an online YouGov poll, 84 percent of people believe that woods and forests should be kept in public hands, with only 2 percent wanting their sell-off.
Coalition minister for environment, food and rural affairs Jim Paice told a select committee last November, “We wish to proceed with very substantial disposal of public forest estate, which could go to the extent of all of it.”
A petition against the sell-offs has gained 185,000 signatures at time of press, and thousands demonstrated in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, last month. Campaigners are angry that the Con-Dem plans fail to ensure adequate protection of wildlife, and there are fears that access to woodland by bikes, wheelchairs, cars and horses may now be denied. In areas where woodland has already been sold off, such as Pennygrove Wood in Sussex, “Private Property” signs have been put up. The threat to woodland from loggers and developers will also increase substantially.
As a sweetener, private owners of woodland are exempt from paying capital gains tax, income tax and inheritance tax.
On 4 November last year, when many of us were watching the aftermath of the American presidential election, the US formally left the Paris Climate Agreement. Written in 2015 at the United Nations’ COP21 climate conference in Paris, the agreement is often considered to be the most significant document of international climate cooperation. Back then,...
To say 2020 was dramatic would be an understatement. The world situation has been completely transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the inadequacy of governmental and state responses. As we head into 2021 it feels like we are entering uncharted territory. To make specific predictions would be unwise. But the Covid-19 crisis raises fundamental questions...
China’s rulers have, for the past four decades, sought to increase the country’s global role, particularly via their Belt and Road Initiative. Simon Gilbert reviews three recently published books on the repercussions of these policies, while Adrian Budd considers a study of US/Chinese tensions.