South East England's Euro MP, Catherine Bearder, is preparing a submission for the government consultation on the forestry estate.
Tory Secretary of State for DEFRA, Caroline Spellman, has proposed to lease South East England's forests to civil s ociety groups and private land owners. The new owners will be responsible for the upkeep of the forests but will be obliged to maintain public access and make commitments to preserve biodiversity.
As the New Forest is considered a heritage forest, it will be spared from the sell-off and given to a new charitable trust.
Catherine, who is a campaigner against deforestation, commented:
"If any changes are made to the ownership of our forestry estate we must ensure that the social and environmental importance of our forests is not damaged."
"For years I took my children to our local forest and I hate to think that someday this may not be possible for many parents. I intend to submit a consultation explaining why."
"Our forests are part of our heritage. They are part of our culture and tradition. They belong to the public so we should have the final say on how they are managed."
"I am very worried that cash-strapped civil society groups will not be able to compete with big business for ownership of the forest estate. Can local residents outbid wealthy bankers wanting to invest in land?"
"2011 is the UN International Year of Forests. Let's not celebrate it by threatening the survival of ours."