Hmm, rather a predictable bunch that meet typically narrow media stereotypes – not one real grassroots campaigner amongst them. Where are any of the non-NGO, non-celeb, non-commercial, non-luvvy & lunch-friendly, local activists who forced the Government into its first, major policy U-turn i.e. halting the sell-off our public forests? THE major conservation campaign victory of the past 20 years! Shame on you, Observer – should have been at least one short-listed nominee from Save Our Woods, Hands Off Our Forest! or any of the many small, local community groups that came out in defence of their patch of England’s public woods & forests!
January ended up being a good month for England’s woods and forests (Ash dieback notwithstanding). On 31st January, the Government set out its response to the recommendations from the Independent Panel on Forestry. Chaired by Bishop James of Liverpool (highly-respected as a green-minded churchman, and for his part in finally achieving justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster), the Independent Forestry Panel was set up in a panic by the then Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman after the country-wide protest by people from across the political spectrum and class divide against the Government’s original proposal to ‘dispose of’ (Whitehall double-talk for ‘flog off’) all 1,500 woods and forests that make up the public forest estate in England.