If you want to email your own comments to Dr Coffey and Caroline Spellman (Secretary of State for the Department of Environment,Food and Rural Affairs) then please click on the link below:
eMail Dr Therese Coffey and Caroline Spellman
The meeting had some very impressive and informed people attend including 1 or 2 from the Foresty Commission, ecologists and even an economist from Imperial College London.
Essentially Dr. Coffee stated that the reasons were in part financial and she was essentially unable to be accurate about other reasons. She suggested it was due to the underperformance of the Foretry Commission (FC) and that the FC held a monopoly.
The representative from the FC pointed out that the Forestry commission do not hold a monopoly as only 33% of UK forests are publicly owned. He also pointed out that in terms of efficiency that in East Anglia they had met all their targets and nationally that they produce 70% of UK timber from 17% of the foresty land.
The economist pointed out that although 660 million was the gross figure for the proposed sale that the net income would be only 20 million and in the long term will probably make even less.
Access was also discussed at length and concerns over this were voiced.
Although Dr. Coffee tried to reassure people that access etc would be protected the point was made that the Government would not be at all sure about the credentials of who they sold to and what they would do to the land once it was privately owned.
Another member of meeting outlined the fact that on the so called consultation committee were representatives from industry including mineral companies-they of couse are unlikely to be concerned with conservation whilst there are minerals to be plundered.
Dr. Coffee was asked frequently whether or not she would take the concerns of her constituents back to Central Office and vote against it in the Commons and she avoided answering either of these questions.
Finally, everyone attending was urged to post their comments on the Consultation Document. It was also noted that the document is of course weighted-It asks essentially "How would you like us to sell off your Forests" rather than "Would you like us to sell them off?"