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Thread: Forestry Commission at risk in DEFRA quango review

  1. #1

    Forestry Commission at risk in DEFRA quango review

    I notice that the Government is now reviewing all of DEFRA's arms-length organisation, including Natural England and the Forestry Commission for potentail closure or reduction. Love the FC or loathe them - and there seem to be very mixed views in the stalking community, depending I suppose on who owns your lease - the potential privatisation is bound to have an impact on us. Will this be a positive move or a negative one for us. It will obviously impact on the Deer Initiative, as the FC are a key funder and provide much of the infrastructure for the DI to function.

    I've no experience of an FC lease, as my Scottish ground is managed by a private forestry company, but I have seen the impact the FC have had on deer populations adjacent to grouse moors in NE Scotland - here, the Red deer have been lamped and shot out of season by the FC (with the enthusiastic support of the grouse beat keepers) to the point where they are now a rare sight. Will the absence of Crown Servant status make it more difficult for forest managers to act with such impunity?

    On the upside, it might mean that private forestry firms have less onerous requirements for recreational stalkers taking on leases?

    Apologies if this has already been discussed and I've missed it...


  2. #2
    I understand this has been on the cards for some time now. Froma recreational stalking point of view I think it's a good thing.

  3. #3
    From a recreational stalking point of view - possibly.

    I have in the past had leases from the FC and they are a bureurocratic nightmare - and appear to be becoming more so. Currently there appear to be essentially no leases up for grabs in Scotland - and I do personally know of several areas of ground with good populations of deer which could easily (and profitably) be leased. Why they are not I have no idea - but suspect there is a degree of 'caany be bothered' about it.

    My own impression is that where they perceive there to be a threat to vulnerable re-stocks they hit the deer with anything and everything until the threat has gone - thereafter the deer are left unmolested and just build up and spill out into surrounding land - keeping me busy!

    Its a bit difficult to see though how the function of the Forestry Commission, rather than Forest Enterprise who actually do the management, could be privatised? FC actually own a huge acreage of ground in Scotland - the largest landowner - do you suppose selling off the crown jewels is on the cards? As to the management I'm sure Tillhill/Fountain/whoever will be up for it?

  4. #4
    Forest Enterprise are only the commercial trading arm of the FC, so they're essentially one and the same - I hadn't really thought about the land itself being sold off, but listening to George Osborne and David Cameron on R4 just now talking about the extent of the national debt and the 'difficult decisions to come', it might just be on the cards. Given the current fuss, flogging a few trees may well be seen as a more palatable option than further reductions to universal benefits such as child benefit?

  5. #5
    I read in the Field magazine a few years ago that the forestry commision were losing 1 Million pounds a week . They plant trees (pines) that are virtually worthless when they are harvested . If it was a privately run business it would have gone bust a long time ago.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by chill123 View Post
    I read in the Field magazine a few years ago that the forestry commision were losing 1 Million pounds a week . They plant trees (pines) that are virtually worthless when they are harvested . If it was a privately run business it would have gone bust a long time ago.

    Total rubbish. I suggest you buy i different magazine!!!

  7. #7
    Timber is a strategic resource, that's why "Government" are in it. Commercial Forestry Companies make money, why not FC?
    Advantage FC have is that they can provide product "on demand" to their owner without consideration of profit.

    The land won't go away, just the current management. Methinks it will be a more black and white issue.

    Fell trees when needed, replant, exterminate all deer. Once the timber (resource) is no longer under threat, stop exterminating.

    This is business, not a Walt Disney movie.


  8. #8
    The U.K currently imports 85% of its softwood and hardwood needs whilst vast acreages of conifers go unharvested. The F.C was created to ensure sustainable self reliance for timber production after the shortfall of timber during the war. Given the current inability to fulfill their remit perhaps they are due for a shake-up.
    I am aware that market forces come into play but it is surely up to the F.C to develope methods of cost efficient extraction for difficult access sites and to learn lessons from the errors of the past. Unless of course each government is in turn happy to count unharvestable timber as a carbon store in the 'carbon sequestration Vs emmisions' wrangling so beloved of the E.U.
    With regards to the effect on recreational stalkers I do not think privatisation will benefit anyone. It is remarkeably difficult to sue the government agencies if something is amiss and the employees have the backing of a huge organisation, yet private companies will have to adopt a belt and braces policy to protect themselves from the actions of the people they sanction to control deer, and you can bet that they will back peddle like hell if there were to be an accident involving a recreational stalker and a third party.

  9. #9
    They looked at selling the forests in Scoltand and it never got off the ground.

    We have our very own fusty commission and FE is UK wide. It does not function as designed but what public sector resource does?

    they are public employess dictating to the folk that own the land what they can and cannot do, when they can do it and where and getting paid wads of wonga to do so.

  10. #10
    Probable with out realising it the proposed legislation for deer stalkers will have give the Government some valuable ammo agaist the greedy quango,s its just who when and how they are delt with in my opinion .I am sure the FC FE SNH ETC ETC ARE TRYING TO SORT IN HOUSE STUFF AT THIS VERY MINUTE BEFORE THE INVESTIGATORS MOVE IN TO SEE WERE CUTS CAN HAPPEN.

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