Labour is the only party promising primary legislation to ‘protect our public forest estates from any future privatisation’.
Steve Parry-Hearn, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the Forest of Dean unreservedly welcomes this Manifesto pledge: “I have always been totally committed to protecting our Forest. Since the Coalition were forced into a u-turn on the sell-off of our Forests by the brilliant work of local campaign groups such as HOOF, they have tried to convince us that our forests were safe. However, no legislation has ever been put in place that would guarantee this. We’ve had five years of environmental degradation, and it must stop. I was proud to be the first Parliamentary Candidate to sign HOOF’s three pledges, and this was no empty promise. In the last 12 months, we have had visits from two Shadow Ministers and the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, all asserting the need for primary legislation, and stating their absolute support and commitment to protecting our public forest estates, now and always.”
Baroness Jan Royall, Labour Leader in the House of Lords says, “For nearly five years we Foresters have proudly battled to protect the Public Forest Estate from front door and back door privatisation by the Conservatives. We need an end to this onslaught. As Steve Parry-Hearn has made clear at all of the hustings, Labour will defend and protect our forests for future generations. As your MP, Steve will be at the forefront of our policy making, ensuring that the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry are implemented. In the Forest we have a clear choice between a Conservative who did nothing to support HOOF and the thousands of us who care deeply about our woods, traditions and culture, and Steve who will work hand in glove with a Labour Government in securing real and lasting protection”.
In addition to keeping the next Labour Government to its promise of protecting the Forest through legal statute, Steve Parry-Hearn will also be consulting widely within the Forest of Dean to discuss the most appropriate form of special status for the Forest of Dean, to augment the legislation.