A round up of the top stories as chosen by the CJS Team.
Monday 24 Janaury
Car parks set to lose their 'free' status
Distrct National Park
Motorists using four Lake District “free” car parks are to be
charged in the future, with money raised being used to help finance
vital preservation work in the national park landscape.
A meeting of the national park authority in Kendal today
(Wednesday) heard the pilot scheme – affecting car parks in
Windermere, Thirlmere and Ravenglass - would bring in much-needed
money to help combat a major shortfall in its annual budget.
A report from Car Parks Operations Manager David Coxen, said the
authority had a duty to regularly monitor and review all of its car
parking charges and to assess the potential for additional income,
particularly in view of recent cutbacks to its annual budget grant
from Central Government.
Currently the LDNPA operates 16 pay-and-display car parks, which
generate around £1.2million of income. It also manages 30 other car
parks which are currently free-of-charge, but which have the
potential to bring in extra revenue.
Our forests are a precious asset
Telegraph View: England's forests are a national treasure that must be
The Wyre Forest in Worcestershire is typical of the
woodland that the Forestry Commission manages Photo: Jason Friend / Alamy
Last October, this newspaper revealed that the Coalition was planning to
sell off many of Britain’s forests; today, a group called Save England’s
Forests demands that this decision is reversed. Their letter to this paper
is signed by 100 luminaries, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. Are
Letter to the Telegraph begins: We believe the
Government’s decision to pursue legislation to allow the disposal of all
England’s public forest estate is wrong.
Three clauses in the Public Bodies Bill 2010-11, currently being debated
in Parliament, will authorise the Government to sell the whole of our public
forest estate to commercial interests on the open market. Without asking our
permission Government has already allowed the sale of 15% of our public
woodlands. Similar plans have been rejected by the Scottish and Welsh
We, who love, use and share the English forests believe that such a sale
would be misjudged and shortsighted.
letter in full. on teh Save England's Forests website
Sale of Rigg Wood could herald forests' future
With the Government preparing to sell off some of Britain's forests to
the private sector, campaigners have highlighted the case of Rigg Wood in
Cumbria as a sign of things to come.
Rigg Wood was sold for £116,000 in October Photo: NORTH
The padlocked gate tells its own story.
The main entrance to what was once a popular picnic and walking site in
the heart of the Lake District is closed. Campaigners say the public have
effectively been shut out.
Rigg Wood, a 40-acre (16 hectare) site by the banks of Coniston Water,
was sold for £116,000 in October. Many local residents only learned of the
sale when they noticed that the small car park at the site had been closed
by its new owner.
Now campaigners are warning that Rigg Wood's fate will become a familiar
tale if the Government presses ahead with plans to sell off forests
Guardian 'comment is free':
If nationalising forestry was a disaster, an unthinking sell-off would be
We should fear the breakup of the Forestry Commission less and care about
restoring our lost greenwoods more
A forest is made of more than trees. Penned-in, straight-sided deadly
green lines of sitka spruce are no closer to the woodlands of our
imagination than a concrete road: the antithesis of freedom and nature. Yet
they are what the Forestry Commission has mostly created in Britain since it
was formed in 1919 to supply pit props and softwood pulp to industry and so
what campaigners, stirred by news of the commission's breakup, are trying –
unwittingly – to save.
This week the government will begin consultation on the commission's
future, but the likely outcome is already clear. It wants to slim down the
commission, changing it from being an owner of forests to an overseer.
Some forests will be sold, and others handed to local control. A minister
has let slip talk of "disposal" – prompting protests and the stirring of
Tory rural England – despite promises about community powers and access
rights. Perish the thought that this is about raising money: except that of
course it is, the environment department's budget cuts being among the
Energy Saving Trust funding cut by half
, reports The
Department of Energy and Climate Change halves 2011-12 funding for
energy-saving consumer bodyThe government has slashed by half its funding of
the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the Guardian has learned.
The EST provides grants and free advice to the public to help them reduce
their energy use, bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The government has
previously said that energy efficiency measures are the cheapest way of
tackling energy and climate change.
Chris Huhne, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said
last year: "We must take action on energy saving. For too long, the debate
around energy has focused on supply."
In a separate statement he added: "There is quite a big part of our
agenda where clearly the expertise that exists in ... the Energy Saving
Trust will be very important."
But the EST confirmed today that the funding it receives from the
Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is to be halved in 2011-12.
It is likely to lose one-third of its 300-strong workforce, mainly in
Chinese lantern ban calls from farmers and air authority
NFU and the Civil Air Authority say that growing popularity is putting
houses, livestock, crops and even lives at risk
In recent years it has seemed that no celebration is complete without a
finale of paper lanterns floating into the night sky. But the growing
popularity of Chinese lanterns is putting houses, livestock, crops and even
lives at risk, organisations from the National Farmers' Union to the Civil
Aviation Authority warn today.
The group wants a ban on the sale of the sky lanterns, which are paper
and wire hot air balloons fuelled by a naked flame and date back to
Hedgehog 'rescue plan' unveiled
in the Telegraph
Conservationists have unveiled a raft of initiatives to stop the hedgehog
from vanishing from the UK.
A drastic decline in the hedgehog population has prompted warnings the
creatures could become extinct in little over a decade's time
They are one of the nation's favourite wild animals and the inspiration
for Beatrix Potter's Mrs Tiggy Winkle.
But a drastic decline in the hedgehog population has prompted warnings
the creatures could become extinct in little over a decade's time.
Now, entire communities have been told to join together to create
hedgehog-friendly zones to save the species.
The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has embarked on a
three-year campaign to save the creature.
Householders will be asked to link their gardens with those of their
neighbours by making holes in shared walls and fences, to increase the areas
over which the animals can roam.
Tuesday 25 January
Heartwood Forest sets welly wanging world record!*
Woodland Trust President Clive Anderson joins in record breaking attempt
Heartwood Forest was the location for a new Guinness World Record TM* on
Sunday January 23rd, when 282 people took part in a 'largest welly wanging
competition' as part of the latest tree planting day on site.
To set the record a minimum of 250 people needed to take part during the
course of the day - by 'wanging' a wellington boot as far as possible. The
final figure of 282 even included Woodland Trust President Clive Anderson,
who threw his wellington a respectable 10.15 metres. The longest of the day
was 26.7 metres by local resident Paul Lowe - some way off the world record
of 63 metres!
The record attempt was held as part of the Trust's "Give it
some Welly for Woodland" campaign, which is looking for people across
Hertfordshire and beyond to help raise funds to protect and create native
Caterpillar defence methods affect lifespan and offspring numbers
Caterpillars regularly using a defence mechanism to deter predators not
only produce fewer eggs but also grow more slowly and often die earlier,
according to research published today.
Scientists from the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow studied the
caterpillars of large 'cabbage white' butterflies (Pieris brassicae). They
found that the caterpillars regurgitate semi-digested cabbage to make them
smell and taste unpleasant to predators, but if they have to defend
themselves from frequent attacks this has an adverse effect.
Rare wild plants: the missing link in our food supplies?
New report highlights role of wild plants in delivering food security for
A new report Crop Wild Relatives: Plant Conservation for Food Security
published today (25th January 2011) by Natural England shows how the scarce
wild relatives of modern crops could hold some of the seeds of success in
the fight for global food security.
All of our food crops were
originally wild plants whose descendants have for centuries been selectively
bred to develop higher yielding crops. In the process a great deal of
their original genetic diversity has been lost. In the 20th century, for
example, 75% of genetic diversity in crops was lost due to increased use of
scientifically bred varieties.
The result is that we are now dependent
upon a limited genetic range for most of our main food plants, leaving them
susceptible to problems such as new pests and diseases and the effects of
Wednesday 26 January
New partnership to build on Losehill Hall learning legacy
- Peak District National Park
The future of a Peak District National Park learning centre has
been secured enabling the number of education courses it provides to
The Peak District National Park Authority has agreed to sell
Losehill Hall at Castleton to YHA (the Youth Hostels Association) in
a deal which includes a legal clause to ensure the building is used
as a Youth Hostel and education and activity centre for a minimum of
Future of Britain's forests
- National Trust
We endorse the public’s concern over the future of Britain’s forests and
insist that any change of ownership must protect public access to woodlands
as well as their amenity, conservation and cultural value.
We have agreed a
set of principles (PDF / 127KB) which should guide any proposed
disposals. These have been sent to Government and the key public bodies
involved after consultation with other nature, wildlife and conservation
The charity is publishing its views on the eve of the launch of the
Forestry Commission’s consultation on the future of the public forest
The three key principles are:
- that the conservation and public access value of any site being
considered for disposal is properly safeguarded for the future under any
new management or ownership arrangements;
- that if any land is transferred to conservation organisations or
community groups, the sites should be adequately funded by government;
- If such support is not guaranteed, the Trust will argue that
important conservation assets should remain in the care of the
appropriate public body in order to fulfil the government’s
responsibility to protect their public value.
Our views, shared by several other charities, have been submitted to the
government ahead of the Forestry Commission’s consultation to be launched on
Access not ownership the key to British Woodland – Ramblers warn
On the eve of the government consultation on the sale of our forests the
Ramblers warns that the debate on access to British woodland must go beyond
the ownership of Forestry Commission land.
Only 18% of British woodland is owned by the Forestry Commission and of
that land only 17% has been dedicated to allow full public access. What is
vital is not just who owns the land but that good quality access is secured
so that everyone across the country can enjoy our woodland heritage.
The Ramblers have previously outlined 5 key tests¹ which must be put in
place to protect access before any sale of Forestry Commission land goes
ahead, including the dedication of all Forestry Commission land to ensure
full public access. However, the Ramblers argues that the current debate
must move beyond the discussion of public versus private ownership, to the
real issue of access and enjoyment of all woodland.
for Science Advisory Council
Changes to the Science Advisory Council (SAC) for Defra have been
announced to help the department achieve better and more co-ordinated
Following the review of Defra’s Arms Length Bodies last October, and a
separate independent review of the SAC, the majority of Defra’s scientific
and technical advisory bodies are being reconstituted as expert scientific
committees to provide advice on specific areas.
The SAC will be re-modelled based on the recommendations of the
independent report. Although it will remain a Non Departmental Public
Body, it will have a strengthened role in supporting the Chief Scientific
Adviser in the oversight of all Defra expert scientific committees.
National Park responds to grant cut
- New Forest National
The New Forest National Park Authority plans a wide-ranging package of
measures to respond to the 21.5% cut in its government grant over the next
four years which was announced in December last year.
The proposals are a mixture of budget savings, use of reserves, new ways
of working, restructuring and improved income generation.
Chairman, Julian Johnson, said: ‘The scale of the savings we need to make
to balance our budget is significant: our grant reduces from just over £4m
this year to £3.16m by 2014 – a cut of £866,000 or £217,000 a year. This
comes on top of the 5% saving we had to make within this financial year and
does not include the impact of inflation and the loss of other grants.
‘Nevertheless we have approached this challenge positively, carefully
considering all the ways in which we could address the issues and coming up
with a plan that uses a range of measures. In doing this we have worked
hard to safeguard our ability to deliver benefits in and for the New Forest
and to minimise the need for redundancies.’
Thursday 27 Janaury
New direction for England’s public forest estate - DEFRA
Published on Thursday 27 January 2011 at 9:53am
England’s best known historic forests will be protected for
future generations under proposals announced by Environment
Secretary Caroline Spelman today. The transfer of heritage forests
such as the New Forest and the Forest of Dean to charitable trusts
will mean walkers, riders and cyclists will still be able to enjoy
them as they do at the moment.
The proposals are contained in a consultation document on the
ownership and management of the 18% of England’s woodland currently
run by the Forestry Commission. The document lays out
different approaches for different types of woodlands.
The plans make clear that these woodlands will not simply be sold
off to the highest bidder. Instead they recognise that no two
woodlands are the same and that no single ownership model is
appropriate. The document suggests a mixed approach that would
deliver benefits for users and taxpayers, and makes clear that
public access and biodiversity will be protected. The
government will bring forward amendments to the Public Bodies Bill
to ensure the public benefits the forests provide are protected
the Consultation Website
This consultation is about the future ownership and management of the
public forest estate in England – land managed by the Forestry Commission on
behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
It sets out the rationale for a move away from the Government owning and
managing significant areas of woodlands in England and the principles which
will guide the Government in deciding on the way forward. The consultation
proposes a mixed model approach to reforming the ownership and management of
the public forest estate to create a far greater role for civil society,
businesses and individuals.
We invite views on the mixed-model approach, the criteria for deciding
which parts of the estate fit within each model, the principles guiding each
model, the safeguards for providing public benefits, and alternative
approaches. We also invite views on the implications for the future role of
the Forestry Commission in England of these proposals.
England's forest sell-off plan gets a partial rethink – The Guardian
The environment department is expected to announce that up to 80,000
hectares of woodland will be put into charitable trusts
The Forest of Dean is England's first national forest park
and largest oak woodland. Photograph: The Forestry Commission
The government is to make a partial climbdown tomorrow over proposals to
sell off England's woodlands, following pressure from campaigners and
Liberal Democrats. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs is expected to announce that up to 80,000 hectares of England's most
cherished woodlands, such as the Forest of Dean and Cannock Chase, will be
put into charitable trusts with the requirement that their current goals are
Government sources said the plans, to be set out in a consultation paper,
had been misunderstood at the outset. Commercial forests, roughly 120,000
hectares, will be leased to the private sector, using a similar model to
Scotland. Smaller parcels of woodland will offered to community groups to
Last refuges of England’s rarest species revealed
- Natural England
Ten of the most important wildlife sites in the country, the last refuges
of some of our rarest species, are disclosed today by Natural England.
They range from romantic islands and royal parks to ancient fenland and
All are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the best examples
of wildlife and geology that Britain can offer. The list is published
alongside a new report by Natural England – Protecting England’s Natural
Treasures – which details how the hard work of landowners, farmers and
volunteers has transformed the fortunes of England’s SSSIs, halting or
reversing the long process of decline that most SSSIs had experienced over
of Britain’s feathered fiends to save disappearing dawn chorus – Times
(Subscription only – sorry)
Sparrowhawks kill an estimated 50 million songbirds a year
Crows and magpies are to be trapped and killed in the first large-scale
trial of culling to protect songbirds and save the disappearing dawn chorus.
Campaigners seeking to reverse the decline in songbirds hope to use the
results to argue for much wider culling of predators, including protected
species such as sparrowhawks and buzzards.
The £100,000 trial cull, due to start in March, has exposed a deep rift
between two rival bird conservation groups, the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds and Songbird Survival.
The RSPB rejects claims that avian predators are responsible for the
decline in species such as the tree sparrow, corn bunting and yellowhammer,
numbers of which have more than halved since 1970. It insists that the main
cause of songbird decline is intensive farming, which has robbed songbirds
of their habitat and food sources. It also argues that a widespread cull of
crows and magpies could be illegal.
Songbird Survival questions whether farming practices are the main cause
of the decline, pointing out that it has continued despite the billions of
pounds paid to farmers in the past decade to protect bird habitats.
Whodunnit? Mystery fish poacher revealed by photographic evidence - RSPB
by Ian McCarthy
Sea eagles have a wide diet including fish and seabirds
A young sea eagle has been identified as the mystery fisherman of
Dochgarroch after the half-eaten remains of one or two large fish were found
along the towpath of the Caledonian Canal near Dochgarroch, five miles south
Photographic evidence of the sea eagle was obtained by members of the
Bird family who live nearby after the youngest member of the family,
ten-year-old Grace, a pupil at Dochgarroch Primary School, spotted the bird
near the canal.
Bid to find cause of seasonal dog illness – Forestry Commission
A new website has been launched in a bid to help find out why some dogs
have fallen ill when visiting woodlands across Nottinghamshire and
The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has created an online questionnaire for
people to report incidents where their pets fell ill or perhaps even died.
Reports of the mystery sickness – dubbed Seasonal Canine Illness - first
came to light in 2009 and more dogs fell ill in 2010.
The problem has also been reported in other parts of the country,
including East Anglia and Warwickshire, and only seems to occur during
evidence to the AHT here.
Friday 28 January
Launch of public forest estates consultation – myths busted -
The myth – The Government is privatising all of England’s forests
and as a result the public will lose access to them.
The truth – Our heritage forests, such as the New Forest and the
Forest of Dean, are unequivocally not for sale. We are consulting on
a proposal to transfer them to a charity or charities, and walkers,
riders and cyclists will still be able to enjoy them as they do at
'Quick fix’ forest sale must not threaten our natural heritage –
The Wildlife Trusts
Commenting on the consultation into the sale of publicly-owned
forests, a high proportion of which have wildlife value, The
Wildlife Trusts urge the Government to recognise the practicalities
and realities of securing the long-term protection of England’s
forests for the future.
The transfer of ownership of these forests away from the Forestry
Commission presents a real risk to the future of our natural
heritage. Nature’s recovery is a key objective of the imminent
Natural Environment White Paper – this could be a barrier to
not out of the woods yet, RSPB warns
by RSPB Images - Stuart Geeves
The RSPB has cautiously welcomed news that protecting and enhancing
wildlife is to be a key test for how the Government plans to dispose of
England’s Public Forest Estate,
However, the charity has warned that the fight to save vital wildlife
habitats is not over and it will be scrutinising Government plans closely.
Today the Government launched its consultation over the future of the
Forestry Commission England estate.
RSPB conservation director Mark Avery said: “Protecting wildlife and
ensuring public access is a key test for any change in ownership of our
forests. But the sheer scale of the changes may make this very difficult to
achieve in practice.
“We remain open minded about these proposals – but we need to be
reassured that whoever manages former state run forests, whether private
individuals, companies, leaseholders or trusts and charities, will protect
our native wildlife.
Forest sell-off plans met with huge opposition – The Guardian
Communities and environment groups have expressed dismay over government
plans to sell 258,000ha of English forests
Hands Off Our Forest campaign group marches through the Cyril Hart
Arboretum. Photograph: For The Guardian Adrian Sherratt
The vast majority of England's public woodland will be offered for sale
to commercial businesses, the Guardian has learned from documents suggesting
that only 1% will be acquired by communities and 2% by charities.
As government plans to sell off English forests at market rates were
unveiled yesterday, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) admitted it did not know whether local communities and
charities would try to buy them – or even be able to raise the money to do
Open Habitats under biggest threat from the Forestry Commission Sell-Off
- Mikes King, Director of Conservation for The Grasslands Trust
The Media have finally woken up to the proposals to sell the Public
Forestry Estate in England. And quite rightly, there is now an increasing
clamour for the proposals to be critically appraised. What has not been
emphasised is the very large area of open habitat within the FC estate which
will be the most vulnerable to damaging change, thanks to the ineffectual
regulations that fail to protect open habitats like grasslands.
Today's forestry proposals won't protect access (27/1/11)
Tom Franklin Chief Executive of the Ramblers
The Ramblers remains concerned that proposals for the sale of Forestry
Commission land will lead to a reduction in public access.
Today’s proposals will largely protect access to heritage woodland such
as the New Forest and the Forest of Dean, and even large commercial woodland
like Kielder Forest in Northumberland. But there is a big BUT. Roughly
50% of the Forestry Commission estate currently falls into neither
‘heritage’ nor ‘large commercial’ categories, and this half could end up for
sale on the open market with no guarantees that current access will be
maintained. Guarantees have not been given that the good quality
access provided by the Forestry Commission will be maintained for all
woodland, and the government has also shown that it is firmly against
dedicating any further land to full public access. Far from protecting and
enhancing access, the current proposals don’t meet the Ramblers key tests
for maintaining public access to Britain’s woodlands.
Woodlands: Management, not ownership
It is not who owns the national woodlands but how they are managed –
that's the view of the NFU as Defra launches its official consultation into
the sale of the English Public Estate today.
The NFU has concerns that changes to the way woodlands are managed could
have impacts on neighbouring farmland. Rabbit or deer control could be
affected, and access land could be adversely affected by heavy felling
machinery. It is calling for the views of local stakeholders to be included
in the consultation.
Authorities don’t want to take on Open Space Anymore! – the Land Trust
Talking to a number of different developers and house builders recently
we’re getting consistent anecdotal evidence that local authorities are
generally no longer willing to take on the new public open spaces that are
created alongside their developments. Equally speaking to a number of
local authorities not only confirms this, but takes the issue a step further
– many councils are looking to divest some of their existing spaces.
At a recent regional Green Space conference a show of hands revealed that
the majority of authorities were considering some form of public space asset