Letter: Should our woods stay public or is it right to sell them?

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The Independent Online
Should our woods stay public or is it right to sell them?

I was sorry to see Geoffrey Lean used as a mouthpiece for the Ramblers'Association's fact-shy propaganda on public forests. Enormous and increasing acreages of private woodland are open to the public. Public ownership of woodlands has been an economic and ecological disaster. It has swallowed vast subsidies that could have gone to the needy - all in the name of import substitution, an argument that makes no more sense for timber than it does for bananas. It has wasted huge areas of beautiful land with disastrous plantations of exotic spruce and lodgepole pine, with devastating effects on many moorland and woodland bird species. And the Forestry Commission tried hard to destroy the Caledonian pine forest, which was only saved by enlightened private landowners who resisted its blandishments.

Matt Ridley

Newcastle upon Tyne

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