Faced with losing around 30 percent of its annual £2.9 billion budget by 2015, the woeful, deeply unloved and superfluous Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is to dispose of about half of the 748,000 hectares of woodland overseen by the Forestry Commission.
The Forestry Commission was set up in 1919 because of a perceived need to keep Britain's coal-mines supplied with pit-props. Consequently it planted vast areas with pine trees. It has totally outlived its usefulness and most of the forests it manages are species-poor.
The National Trust said: "Potentially this is an opportunity. It would depend on which 50 per cent of land they sold off, if it is valuable in terms of nature, conservation and landscape, or of high commercial value in terms of logging." The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: "We would look very carefully at what was planned. It would be possible to sell 50 per cent if it was done in the right way."
The Forestry Commission trade union said: "We will oppose any land sale. Once we've sold it, it never comes back." With matching stupidity the Telegraph says: "Ministers plan huge sell-off of Britain's forests."
That's the state's forests, you arseholes. The majority of Britain's woodlands are privately managed, including the overwhelming majority of the broadleaf acres that are the most biodiverse and recreationally attractive.