Woodand U-turn

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

See below article published in this week's Cornish Guardian.

Woodland U-turn is a relief to locals at Lerryn

PEOPLE in Lerryn are relieved at news of the Government U-turn on proposed plans to privatise woodland.  The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has abandoned plans to sell some of Britain's forests.  The announcement came on Thursday after uproar across the country about the plans.

Ethy Woods in Lerryn is part owned by the National Trust, with one area of the woodland which is home to a popular circular walk which takes in the River Fowey, owned by the Government's Forestry Commission.

Its car park is usually full in the summer time with walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers visiting the beauty spot. Three weeks ago people from Lerryn spoke to the Cornish Guardian about their disbelief over the plans and Lerryn's Community website ran a feature about concern over the plans.  Locals, many of whom vowed to fight the plans which could have seen this part of Ethy Woods sold off, are pleased the proposal has been dropped.

Chairman for St Winnow Parish council for six years, Eric Baker said: "The whole thing was done without enough consultation at ground level to see what sort of ideas might work. It was as if it was something done on the back of an envelope without realising the uproar there would be about it."

Mr Baker said he did not agree with the idea of the woodland being privatised, although he thought the possibility of the National Trust taking over the woods wasn't a bad thing.

He felt the trust did a good job of managing woodland locally.

News of the U-turn has also been welcomed by politicians.

MP Stephen Gilbert said: "I'm very pleased. People were simply not happy with the proposals and I stood by that – having spoken out against the Government in the Commons.

"I'm pleased that our stance has had an effect and our forests will stay in the Government's hand for the foreseeable future."

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