A huge argument over the future of forestry in the UK came to a dramatic end last week when the Prime Minister, David Cameron, publically backed down and admitted he was unhappy with his government’s policy.
But what was the fuss about in the first place and why was a government with a clear parliamentary majority forced into such a humiliating retreat?
The UK has embarked upon a round of severe public service cuts to try and reduce the country’s debts as quickly as possible. The government did its sums and discovered it could make up to $8 billion from selling publically owned forests.
These represent 44 percent of the forests to which the public has free access in England (Scotland and Wales are not involved).
In addition, and unlike many privately owned monoculture forests, they are managed in a sustainable manner where timber production sits alongside long term biodiversity planning and the preservation of ancient woodlands.