Saturday, 5 March 2011

Forestry Commission Land Poll - The Results

Back at the start of February the proposed sell off of Forestry Commission land was THE main story in the news.

A government blinded by ideological cuts were determined to go toe to toe with millions of ordinary, concerned individuals who held dear the notion that public ownership of our woodlands was a nationial right, and not something to be simply sold off.

So, on 1 February, I set up a poll on this blog to gather an impression from my readers what they thought about the proposed sale.

Things have moved quickly since then.

The pressure on the government got considerably worse and eventually they anounced that they had decided to reverse the proposals.

Whilst this is fantastic news it did make my poll a bit null and void!

In any event I did let the poll come to its natural end and so here are the results:

Question: Should the Government sell of Forestry Commission land to private owners?
Yes: 4 votes (15%)
No: 22 votes (84%)

In essence the poll shows what we knew all along which was there was overwhelming opposition to the sell off.

Although the sell off was undoubtedly a stupid idea from the outset the Government are to be applauded for realising this and withdrawing the proposals. It would have been easy for them to carry on regardless and I give them credit for seeing sense (although I feel that the ultimate pressure was probably from them seriously upsetting their core constituents in places like 'leafy Surrey').

In closing this poll off I want to highlight just one point.

The proposed forestry sell off was stupid. Nevertheless the Government were right to investigate it as an idea in the same way as they were right to stop it. (All governments should investigate, propose and consult on their ideas)

My point however, is that this whole episode cost the public purse a significant amount of money in developing business cases and all that goes with it, the old saying about 'speculating to accumulate' comes to mind.

All I would say is, when government can spend money developing and consulting on  proposals on the scale that they have done they should be a bit more thoughtful when highlighting 'waste' in local government.

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