Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Hands Off Our Forest vs Forestry Commission

Protesters: Hands Off Our Forest

Target: Forestry Commission and Mark Harper MP

Location: The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Date: 3 January

The lowdown

More than 3,000 people protested in the Forest of Dean about the possible sale of parts of the public woodland. Placards with slogans such as 'sold once, gone forever' and 'this land is our land' were held, as they marched in single file chanting 'forest not for sale' led by a brass band.

A bonfire resembling Big Ben was lit.

Why the protest?

The campaign group Hands Off Our Forest held the rally due to fears the Government could sell large swathes of forests to private investors. A white paper on forestry is expected to be published later this month. Richard Daniels, from Hands Off Our Forest, told the BBC: 'We want to send a message to the Government, and that includes our MP Mark Harper, that there is no way we are going to let our forest be sold.'

How did the Government respond?

Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper said: 'All that has ever been proposed is whether a local not-for-profit organisation, a charitable trust say, might be able to involve local people more closely in the ownership or management of the Forest of Dean.'

How did the media cover it?

The issue was covered on the BBC News and This Is Gloucestershire websites and in The Guardian.

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