Scotland: Success comes from persistence: Campaign to stop privatization of public forests has won!

This was an outrage to many when it was first proposed and
despite great effort from many the bill to privatize public forests
passed by a single vote. Undeterred forest defenders and individuals
within government persevered. They dug up a scandal at the root of the
privatization plan which in turn gave leverage to scuttling the land
give away before it could happen. Congratulations to Jim Hume MSP, and
all those who still have a conscience, all those who still refuse to
allow the unconscionable! –Editor, Forest Policy Research

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The Scottish government yesterday abandoned its controversial plan to privately lease up to a quarter of the nation’s forests, in the latest in a string of high-profile SNP policy U-turns. The proposals to lease out a quarter of the publicly owned land had been heavily criticised by environmentalists who welcomed the decision to drop them. Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and the Scottish Green Party had also all condemned the scheme, which was described as being akin to selling off the family silver”.

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Yesterday, they lauded the decision to drop it but used the opportunity to ridicule the SNP for performing another about face on a key issue. The widespread opposition to the proposals, initially mooted by former Environment Minister Mike Russell, had been mounting over the past weeks and months and yesterday Mr Russell’s replacement, Roseanna Cunningham, wrote to members of Holyrood’s Rural Affairs Committee to state they had been ruled out by ministers. “After giving this serious consideration and in view of the comments we received, I have decided not to take leasing any further,” she said. “On taking this decision we should be under no illusion that without the leasing option we now need to consider ways of raising funds in order to plant more trees.”

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