Forest staff reject Cameron accusations


Forest staff reject Cameron accusations

Specialist Prospect members at the Forestry Commission have challenged the assertion by David Cameron during Prime Minister’s questions that other organisations like the Woodland Trust or National Trust could do a better job than the Forestry Commission.

Prospect branch president Lorraine Adams said: “Our members are disgusted at David Cameron’s total disregard for the specialist skills that staff working for the Forestry Commission have.

“In the 92 years that the Forestry Commission has been in existence, employees have tirelessly worked to perfect the business, science and community of forestry. This apparently means nothing to today’s government.

“Our people who work for the FC do so as a vocation, because they believe that what they do is important to government, the whole forestry sector and to the public. The scale of public outcry about the selling of forests, and Britain’s global reputation in forestry, vindicate the quality of work the FC does in managing the forestry estate, in research, fighting tree disease and so much more.

“Bodies like the National Trust and Woodland Trust have made it clear that they are not in a position to maintain and run the forests. Our members would agree with the Woodland Trust’s view that the charitable sector cannot be the solution to future care of all of the publicly owned heritage woodlands, as it will not have the resources to manage these for decades into the future without substantial and sustained government funding.”

A vote in the Commons yesterday saw the government defeat an opposition motion calling on the government to abandon the sale of the Forestry Commission woodlands by 310 to 260. Three Conservative MPs and six Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the government.

Prospect’s 270 members in the Commission include senior managers, scientists, librarians, photographers, researchers and other specialists.