February 1, 2011
MP 'horrified' at Forestry Commission consultation
Burnham-On-Sea's MP has this week
said she is "horrified" at a consultation on selling
off Forestry Commission land across the UK.
Tessa Munt has met with Caroline Spelman, the
Secretary of State, twice over the past week to discuss the proposed
sales and says she is shocked that a three month consultation
by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the plans
- which began last Thursday - does not include the first 100,000
acres of woodland to be sold off.
She has welcomed a House of Commons debate calling
for greater scrutiny of the Government's plans to sell off the
land, adding that it will send a clear message to DEFRA that much
greater transparency is needed, and also demonstrate the need
for specific details about protection measures to ensure continued
access, biodiversity and woodland protection in the future.
She told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I have written again to Caroline
Spelman, the Secretary of State, to raise my concerns. Protection
must be in place, which may mean tabling an amendment to the Public
Bodies Bill when it comes to the House of Commons."
"As it stands, it is likely that this Bill
would give DEFRA Ministers freedom to change the Forestry Commission
and sell off, lease or give away all publicly-owned forestry land
without further recourse to Parliament."
Tessa is pictured with Steve Mewes from Wedmore
Green Group in a Community Wood in Wedmore