HOOF CHAMPIONS STANDING FOR COUNCIL AND PARLIAMENT

THE RESULTS ARE IN! Four people vying to be the next Forest of Dean MP, and 75 people (at last count) vying to be on the Forest of Dean District Council have signed three pledges to be HOOF Champions if they are elected on May 7. Click here to see precisely what they signed up to. 

Here is footage of HOOF asking all the five parliamentary candidates if they would sign the three pledges from Cinderford Churches’ hustings on April 16, at St Stephen’s Church in Cinderford.

In short:

Pledge 1: for public ownership and community accountability

If elected as Forest of Dean MP or councillor in 2015 will you support and promote the HOOF ideals (statutory charter, for an evolved but sustained Forestry Commission more accountable to the public via guardians, who will deliver a statutory charter)?

Will you also actively oppose any proposal to transfer ownership to a new body including a charity or public corporation, and insist on statutory community representation within any new management structure?

Will you do this within your political Party, Parliament, council and Government (whichever is applicable)?

Pledge 2: for adequate public funding

If elected as Forest of Dean MP or councillor in 2015 will you campaign and do your utmost to secure at least £22 million annually from the public purse, or however much is required to ensure the English Public Forest Estate, and Forest of Dean?

Will you ensure the funding mechanism does not require more reliance on the private sector, charities or timber harvesting in order to provide full public benefits and maintain the balance between people, nature and economy?

Will you do this within your political Party, Parliament, council and Government (whichever is applicable)?

Pledge 3: for Special Status for the Forest of Dean

If elected as Forest of Dean MP or councillor in 2015 will you campaign and do your utmost to secure Special Status which recognises and protects the uniqueness of the Forest of Dean, its landscapes and wildlife, as well as its customs and privileges such as commoning and Verderers at a level affording protection at least as high as that of AONB or National Park status?

Will you do this within your political Party, Parliament, council and Government (whichever is applicable)?

So HOOF now has more than a third of the total number of candidates standing for council, and four-fifths of those standing for Parliament who have declared they will fight HOOF’s corner on three elements.

We also had several other candidates who didn’t sign the pledges, but expressed broad support for HOOF. We include all the comments we have received, and will update any later responses. We have now gone to print with leaflets which contain the names of all declared HOOF champions we received before our publicised deadline of noon on Monday.

We contacted all candidates standing for the May 7 Parliamentary and District Council elections in the Forest of Dean, mainly by email, and also sent reminders, and asked Party agents, secretaries and campaign staff to ensure all those we didn’t have contacts for received them. So we can safely say every one of the 167 council candidates, and five Parliamentary candidates, were contacted.

This has proved to be a fantastic exercise for opening up debate, particularly on our third pledge for Special Status, as the meaning and nature of what this Special Status might be still has to be chewed over. We envisage on Wednesday there could be a lively debate on this and other aspects of the future of our Forest. As you’ll see below, we received a range of comments – many were simply emphatic Yeses but others gave provisos/ caveats and also made other general comments which are food for thought.

We have also included the only negative response to our emails asking for pledges, from the last Council Chairman, Jane Horne.

HOOF does welcome ANY comments, positive, negative or whatever, to the HOOF pledges document from candidates yet to respond. We feel it’s vital that everything is left on the table for discussion.

It should be noted that on the leaflet, no Liberal Democrat council candidates had signed up or responded by the print deadline (although the Parliamentary candidate has). Instead, we were told the local Party was meeting Monday evening for a briefing and regretted missing the deadline. Look out for updates here in the run-up to May 7, and also other tardy responses.

One final thing before we release the Champions list: the UKIP Parliamentary candidate Steve Stanbury verbally stated at the Cinderford Churches hustings on April 16 that his answers were “Yes, yes and yes” to the HOOF pledges, but his signed pledges arrived three hours too late and by then the printers had already started running the leaflets off. So he’s confirmed on here but not on the printed list.

But apologies from HOOF are due to Ann Guyton, the UKIP candidate for Cinderford West, who was included in a bundle of pledges dropped off by her husband, Colin, last night. Unfortunately we didn’t spot Ann’s until we had already gone to print, so our fault there!

Thanks to all who have taken part.

UPDATES

28/4/15 COLEFORD CENTRAL: GRAHAM GRINDLE

4/5/15 OXENHALL & NEWENT NORTH EAST: CRAIG LAWTON (NOT SIGNED PLEDGES BUT RESPONDED IN DETAIL / BROADLY IN SUPPORT OF HOOF AIMS)

5/5/15 COLEFORD CENTRAL: Heather Lusty

5/5/15 MITCHELDEAN & DRYBROOK: Heather Dalziel, Jonathan Gault and Sue Henchley

5/5/15 NEWENT CENTRAL: Gill Moseley

5/5/15 TIBBERTON: Ian King

LIST UPDATED 25/4/15

Our Forest My Vote pledges print v3 A4

Our Forest My Vote pledges print v22

ELECTION CANDIDATES’ RESPONSES TO HOOF IN FULL

* YES = YES x3 for all three pledges (all candidates who answered yes did so for all three pledges).

None of the candidates has filled in the pledges document with the answer ‘no’ – those who didn’t sign pledges, however, are also included below, with their comments.

Text colour relates to the candidate’s party affiliation (for Independent and Trade Unionists and Socialists against Cuts TUSC, it’s this colour, others represent Conservative, Green, Lib Dem, Labour and UKIP

We have used mug shots when available… the others will have to make do with blocks of colour.

PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES FOR FOREST OF DEAN

0COLEMANCHRIS COLEMAN

Yes

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????JAMES GREENWOOD

Yes

SPECIAL STATUS: “Subject that the “special status” definition would not obstruct sustainable development.”

harperMARK HARPER

Did not sign HOOF pledges but forwarded a letter from David Cameron to HOOF chairman Rich Daniels, and also sent his own letter:

HOOF_letters_from_Harper_Page_3_-_800 HOOF_letters_from_Harper_Page_4_-_800

0PARRYHEARNSSTEVE PARRY-HEARN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY

“I have already advised the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment Rt Hon Maria Eagle, the Shadow Minister for Forests Rt Hon Barry Gardiner that I am completely committed to the cause of protecting the Forest, and if elected this stance would strongly continue.

I have had assurances from them that the Labour Party in Parliament has no intention of privatising our forests. Moreover, I discussed the matter privately with them both on several occasions and I am delighted to say that we have their full support. It will be a matter that we will seek Primary legislation on as soon as is possible in the Parliament.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING

“I will remain a strong advocate for retaining the funding stream for the forests from Government. In times of austerity funding becomes an even tougher discussion to win, however, I believe that given the Forests generate in excess of £400m in well being benefit to the public, £22m in costs is exceedingly good value for money. I would also be campaigning to increase staffing levels and to encourage the Forestry commission to consider that the methods of harvesting should be more sensitive to the environment.”

SPECIAL STATUS

“To me, this is as important as the Primary Legislation issue.

I believe that the forest itself needs a special designation, in terms of its status.

I feel that there must be a debate. I will pledge to hold a open public meeting, in a forum form, to discuss, debate and democratically conclude which form of designation is most appropriate. From this public meeting an overarching objective can be achieved and then the appropriate applications produced, which I will wholeheartedly support. Additionally in terms of the “guardians” I see a non political group which I feel must include the Verderers plus a small number of individuals to create a democratic council of Guardians.”

0STANBURYSTEVE STANBURY

Yes

CANDIDATES FOR FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT COUNCIL

Hoof Champions wards


ALVINGTON, AYLBURTON AND WEST LYDNEY

0WHITECLAUDE MICKLESON (TUSC – TRADE UNIONISTS AND SOCIALISTS AGAINST CUTS)

Did not sign pledges.

“I am standing for District Council and as a true Socialist I can assure you that my ultimate aim is complete Nationalisation, so you can be assured that, if elected, I will do everything in my power to prevent privatisation of anything and do my best to try and undo what has already been done.
That applies to The Forest and everything else that successive governments have carried out including PFI contracts etc.”


AWRE

SANDY BLAKE

Yes

SPECIAL STATUS: “Subject to full consultation, and that special protection refers to the balanced dynamism of a working and sustainable Forest which does not hinder sustainable development.”

0PURPLEROGER WILKINSON

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Forest of Dean belongs to all of us – our green spaces could come under attack in the next Parliament. I totally oppose the comments made by Nick Boles, Conservative Under Secretary of State (Planning) from July 2014: “Vast swathes of the countryside will have to be sacrificed to build new homes for immigrants . . . migrants accounted for almost half of the housing boom and 100,000 new homes a year will be needed to accommodate them”.”

GENERAL:  “If elected I will do all I can to support the cause. As our Election leaflets state: we must protect our way of life in the Forest of Dean. It would be a complete disaster if as custodians of the Forest we allowed any privatisation to the detriment of future generations.

Good luck in your continuing campaign.”


BERRY HILL

0CLAPPTONY CLAPP

Yes

0GWILLIAMTIM GWILLIAM

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Having worked with The Forestry Commission a great deal on the Neighbourhood Development Plan for Berry Hill, Christchurch and Edge End and from that been involved with them locally on a number of projects, I have no hesitation in offering the FC my full support. I think they are doing a fabulous job in extreme circumstances and whilst facing a multitude of differing problems. I do like the idea of more accountability and I do think that in  the same way that  overall policy needs public input, that local issues and intricacies need to be taken into account with some sort of local public board (guardians or governors or whatever) sitting on FC meetings and playing a full and active role in decision and policy making. My way of thinking is that our Forest is potentially very different to a public forest in Scotland so we need to have management that is peculiar to our issues as well as taking into account national policy and finance.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING:Clearly should any Government fail to commit at least the currently suggested  level of funding of £22million  it could be seen as a back door attempt to privatisation or “investment opportunity”  and at best there may well be an inability to keep services and access at present levels.. The Forestry Panel came up with such a figure to protect and enhance public forests after a great deal of investigation and I have no reason to question their findings . I would like that figure with a guaranteed annual inflation increase for each year of the next government as a fully fledged commitment and would add my name or position to any call for such a policy.. I do believe that local timber should be used in local housing but only to show that the home is in the Forest of Dean a design feature if you will and  not to the extent that any major increase in timber harvesting should take place in the Forest.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Clearly this is an enormously contentious issue. I do feel that up to now it has been a rather blinkered view held by many that development of the Forest can only be achieved at the cost of the loss of some of that Forest. I am not entirely comfortable or indeed knowledgeable about an AONB status for the Forest. I am a  believer in the development of the tourism side of the Forest where its beauty is the Forests fortune and also because of that, it needs to be protected. It is a question of balances if you will but I suppose the mantra in my view would be enhance and protect. We would be stupid to develop the forest to such an extent that it diminishes its beauty or heritage in any way and I certainly would not favour any enclosures or any site that is restrictive to the public or prevent access to any part of the Forest.. I just want more people coming here spending time here and spending money here.

I think we should develop where opportunities arise, in the right place , I am talking heritage sites such as old pit workings and the like. Keeping their character and history and educating but attracting tourists by the right type of development. Its difficult to explain and I know I am not doing a great job of it. I always look at Cornwall as an example where we might visit a old tin mine that whilst having heritage values, education opportunities and historical relevance  may also be a child’s playground and restaurant. Sympathetic development in the right areas is I suppose what I would like to see. I fully believe The Forest needs to grow and not just sit as a relic for a few to enjoy. For me we need to protect and celebrate our past whilst providing new opportunities.

I fully support the communities development proposals at Five Acres and that’s the kind of thing on whatever scale I see in the Forest. Having sat in those feasibility meetings I know what the community have said they want there will work , will celebrate the heritage of the area, is viable and take advantage of  and bring back to life what will potentially be a empty site. We have many opportunities to develop our heritage and woodland education offerings  I am not in favour of development for development’s sake. I favour the Forest of Dean seeking special status to enable it better access to European funding, to be able to control its own “local links”  when it comes to housing lists and to have better protection of it heritage sites , similar in may ways to parts of Cornwall and dare I say the Cotswolds which seems to enjoy many more local controls.

I think the Forest deserves  that level of protection and opportunity. Imagine the Norchard Railway running throughout the Forest again, refurbished pits that visitors could go to. Development doesn’t have to be houses, or factories or indeed laser quests, it can and should fit in with what we have to celebrate.”


BLAISDON & LONGHOPE

0PURPLEIAN AITKEN

Yes

0PACKERNICKY PACKER

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “HOOF have researched this issue extensively and on the information provided, this appears to be the best option for maintaining public access to the Forest in the long term.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING:It stands to reason that at least this much will be required based on current expenditure.”

SPECIAL STATUS:Special Status would strengthen the case for protecting the Forest against inappropriate development.”

0ROYALLJAN ROYALL

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I will continue to support and promote the HOOF ideals in order to safeguard the future of our most precious assets, our public forests and woodlands.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I will strive to do this, making the arguments at the appropriate times.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I will continue to do this and hope that we will achieve this in the next five years.”


BREAM

0EVANSBILL EVANS

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The retention of our forest in public ownership is crucial for the community. HOOF are providing inspired leadership in this fight for protection. If I am elected on the 7th May I will do everything within my power to actively oppose any transfer of ownership to any new organisation, whatever form that proposal may take.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Post the election on May 7th public funding is going to remain stringent. However I believe and support the HOOF objective to secure at least £22 millions annually from the public purse or however much is required to protect the English Public Forest Estate and the Forest of Dean. I will continue to campaign and lobby.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I have, with colleagues, in the past campaigned for a special status for the Forest of Dean. This is badly needed. Promises have been made to deliver this protection, we must all continue to campaign tenaciously to achieve this objective. I promise to play my part in delivering this priority.”

0HIETTPAUL HIETT

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I and my party have consistently opposed the transfer or sell off of any of our woodlands and have actively supported HOOF, I have also supported HOOF on West Dean Parish Council.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We have consistently taken this stance, and have a commitment from Ed Miliband to the same ends.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Happy to campaign for special status for the Dean, have done in the past on the District Council, and will continue to do so.”

0LEPPINGTONRICHARD LEPPINGTON

Yes

0PURPLEAVERIL SUMNERS

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Forest has been a sacred trust since time immemorial, it belongs to no one person or body.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “To keep the forest public, to ensure no one body can get a foothold into private ownership.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “We, in the Forest, need AONB or National Park status to stop it becoming a concrete jungle. I will try my utmost to ensure this does not happen.”


BROMSBERROW & DYMOCK

0CLARKESUESUE CLARKE

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I am a strong supporter of HOOF and took part in the demonstrations at both Speech House and Mallard’s Pike. I am also a supporter of Dymock Forest Rural Action. I am encouraged by the huge public show of support for the campaign locally and nationally and the remarkable achievements of HOOF to date. I strongly believe public forests should remain in public hands and that the connection between the Forestry Commission and guardians representing the public should be strengthened.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I believe this is a small price to pay for safeguarding a widely appreciated and important natural resource and would provide excellent value for money. A balance between people nature and economy is the key to a sustainable future and something which I believe all those elected have a duty to strive for.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “On the understanding that the wording for special protection would be consulted upon and would not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.

I am all for safeguarding the Forest’s special character and uniqueness, its culture and wildlife habitats for future generations to appreciate and enjoy as we do today. I am, however, concerned that inappropriate designation, ie wording that may be either too prescriptive or ambiguous in its interpretation, may lead to unintended secondary consequences, such as inadvertently limiting activities which may be in the long term interests of the community. The wording would need to be very carefully thought out to avoid this.

I am also concerned that there may be pressure from certain quarters to include the Forest of Dean District as a whole in any designation – this is not something which I would support. The Forest is and always has been a working community and we need skilled jobs in the area both now and for the future in order for our communities to thrive. I believe a district wide landscape or heritage designation could limit local opportunities, push up house prices, and be far less desirable than a well thought out protection for defined Forest area(s), to achieve the outcomes we seek.

A Special Status protection may also be easier, more timely and less costly to achieve; there have been no new AONBs designated in recent years as far as I am aware.”


CHRISTCHURCH & ENGLISH BICKNOR

0WHITEEILEEN DYER

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I believe the Forestry Commission is the correct body to maintain our forests, but not in its present form.

I will oppose any proposal to transfer ownership to a new body, charity or public corporation, and will insist on statutory community representation within any new management structure as the forests of England are there for the public to enjoy and they should have a voice in its future.

I will do so within my Council.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I am not a financial expert and have no idea how the sum of £22 million has been arrived at, but I will do my utmost to secure an annual payment from public purse to ensure the English Public Forest Estate and Forest of Dean. I will endeavour to prevent reliance on private sector, charities or timber harvesting to provide full public benefits and maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

I will do so within my Council.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “For at least the last decade I have been a member of Friends of the Forest who have endeavoured to obtain AONB or similar status recognition for the Forest of Dean and will continue to do so.

I will do this within my Council.”

0WILLIAMSGERAINT WILLIAMS

Yes


CHURCHAM & HUNTLEY

0REDSHAUN BROWN

Yes

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I will be happy to campaign for at least the £22 million, as I believe it should be more.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I will campaign to press for a Special Status.”

0PURPLESANDY SPARKS

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I love the Forest and all it has to offer. At no time would I accept anything other than its management being answerable to the local community.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “The Forest is to me an important asset to the local population and the Nation. It deserves proper funding for its future.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “As a UKIP candidate if elected I would gladly support this. Securing special status to a landmark Forest with an amazing history is essential for the preservation of a national treasure.”


CINDERFORD EAST

0COBORNMAX COBORN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “It needs to be more accountable.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “It’s been cut too much as it is.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “It needs to be protected.”

0MARTINDI MARTIN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I am committed to the HOOF ideals and if I am successful at the election on the 7th May I will do everything within my limited powers to actively oppose any transfer of ownership to any identified new body – whatever shape or form that proposal may take.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I will continue to campaign and lobby whichever government is elected to endeavour to secure adequate funding from the public purse to fight to maintain the English Public Forest Estate and above all our beautiful Forest of Dean. I recognise that this will not be easy as if the Tories are elected with a clear majority the proposed cuts would be devastating BUT this would not stop me doing everything possible to highlight this as a priority.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I have tried campaigning in the past for a Special Status for the Forest of Dean but was badly let down by my own party at the time, however I will keep pushing and I do believe that the party nationally is listening to us, especially as Baroness Jan Royall alongside HOOF have successfully raised the issue nationally. I am fully supportive of keeping the campaign live.”

0SELINCOURTKATE DE SELINCOURT

Yes

COMMENT ADDED: “Pledge 4 – The Forest of Dean Green Party Pledge: I pledge to work to help bring more of the smaller local woodland resource (eg on local farms, smallholdings and commons) back into active management for local environmental, social and economic benefit.”


CINDERFORD WEST

0PURPLEROY BARDO

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Our forests need protection by local representation.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I will secure as much as possible to keep our forests protected.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “It is essential that the people who love and know it best have this special protection.”

0PURPLEANN GUYTON

Yes

0MORGANGRAHAM MORGAN

Yes

0RAYMONDJILL RAYMOND

Yes

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes, on the understanding that the wording for special protection would be consulted upon and would not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.”

0STERRYLLYNN STERRY

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I have been a Supporter for a free Forest for all.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We will continue our campaign until this Forest Remains Ours.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I would want the Forest to have a “Special Status” for ever and not to be changed when Parliament changes.”

0STERRYRROGER STERRY

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I am a Proud Forester – Born and Bred. I want the Forest to remain in public ownership for ever for my grandchildren to enjoy.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Absolutely. I will be happy to campaign for at least the £22 million, as I believe that it should be more.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I will continue to continue to press for a Special Status as I have campaigned for this for many years.”


COLEFORD CENTRAL

0CLARKEANDANDREW CLARKE

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I am a passionate advocate in ensuring local assets are owned and managed by the community for the community, especially ones as important to our overall wellbeing and continuation as a viable sustainable community. Our woodlands have been our pharmacy, supplier of food and clean water, provider of energy, provider of material for our homes and our lungs generating oxygen and sequestering carbon to control our climate and preventer of floods by intercepting and infiltrating rainwater deep into the bedrock. What community gives away such a precious resource?”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Whilst funding is key it does not always have to come from Government handouts. Our Forest could be much better managed along with small private woodlands if we utilised the resources more effectively. We need a forest-based economy where value is added locally and money is not syphoned out to Edinburgh. We are currently under-managing our woodlands and not encouraging local value-adding skills, crafts and technologies. Likewise our Forest’s assets are managed for the benefit of balancing national budgets and not our local economy and the enhancement of the natural asset.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Special status for the Forest cannot preclude a vibrant working forest and must be consulted on widely. We can never become a rich person’s playground like the Cotswolds AONB. We are a working forest and much more resilient for it. We have untold natural resources that can and need to be managed sustainably creating thousands of local skilled jobs and a vibrant sustainable economy that works for nature and the community. We must adapt as a community and cannot expect to live off tourism alone, with its low-paid unskilled jobs, otherwise the majority of our sons and daughters will leave, never to return.”

0ELSMORECLIVE ELSMORE

Yes

0REDGRAHAM GRINDLE

Yes

0AMBERHEATHER LUSTY

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”

0REDKATHERINE WILLIAMS

Yes


COLEFORD EAST

0REDYASMINE ALIMI

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I think it is important that the ownership of the forest is accountable to the public and I will do everything to support it.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I think the forest is of utmost important to everyone who lives in the forest and should definitely rely on public finance.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I agree that the forest should have special status.”

0CLARKEEELLIOT CLARKE

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Yes, I pledge to agree to all of these terms as they resonate with me on a personal level due to my love of the Forest having grown up here.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Yes, I pledge to do my utmost to secure the necessary funding from non-private and non-damaging sources, to keep our forests in the public’s hands so as to be enjoyed freely by all in their majestic entirety.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes, I pledge to always do my utmost, whether campaigning or otherwise, for: the Forest of Dean, its environment and culture as a whole to be credited with the appropriate protective status that it is due.

However, I would not want to see the forest become protected in a way that could halt beneficial new sustainable developments; such as renewable energy projects like the community wind turbine at St Briavels.”

0REDROGER JAMES

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I have supported Hoof’s aims and ambitions since its inception. I am a member of West Dean Parish Council and along with colleagues have demonstrated my support within council. If I am elected to District Council on May 7th I will continue to support HOOF within council and my own political group.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I am opposed to any reliance on private funding or charitable status that in any way impinges upon public ownership/management of the English Public Forest Estate, and in particular the Forest of Dean.”

SPECIAL STATUS “I will support any measure that provides adequate protection for continued public ownership of the Forest of Dean such as Special Status. I would however not wish to see legislation introduced that would severely affect the opportunity to develop and enhance the Five Acres Leisure /Educational facility as a community asset under community ownership. The site is currently owned by the HCA.”

0REDMALCOLM SADLER

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: Because the Forest itself is what ties together the people who live here and their heritage!

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: Our Forest is part of not only a local heritage, but a National one, so should be maintained from National funding.

SPECIAL STATUS: This status and these customs are vital to maintain a living balance in an electronic age.

 

 

 


HEWELSFIELD & WOOLASTON

0REDJANE JOHNSON

Yes

0PURPLESANDRA LEPPINGTON

Yes

0MOLYNEUXPATRICK MOLYNEUX

Did not sign pledges, but commented:

“As promised here is my commitment to support and champion the key principles of the HOOF Campaign. I would like to point you to the letters you have received from the leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister David Cameron and our current MP Mark Harper [see above] and I would like to fully endorse what they have said and promised and I will work hard to hold them to these promises if re-elected on May 7th.

 I will therefore if re-elected will work hard to …

 1. Retain the Public Forest Estate, including the Forest of Dean, in Public Ownership

2. Ensure the Forest of Dean-specific legislative provisions will remain in force and ensure that the Forest of Dean special status is protected

3. Ensure the Forestry Commission has the necessary resources to continue its work in woodland management, bring more woodland into active management and support thousands of acres of new tree planting.”


LITTLEDEAN & RUSPIDGE

0PURPLEDAVID O’CARROLL

Did not sign pledges, but commented:

I am entirely in favour of all that H.O.O.F. stands for and will support you in any way that I can.”

0ONEILLBERNIE O’NEILL

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Forest must remain in public ownership, as it is a valuable asset for the community and needs to belong to the community.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “It is essential that it is maintained in the public’s and community’s hands and properly funded from the public purse.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “It is important that the Forest is maintained as a working forest as it is very much unique and must be protected.”

0PHELPSSIDSID PHELPS

Yes

“I would also like to add:

Pledge 4:– to work to help bring more of the smaller local woodland resource (eg. on local farms, smallholdings and commons) back into active management for local environmental, social and economic benefit.”

0PURPLEANTHONY REEVE

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Yes, if it is possible to do these things within the capabilities of being a councillor.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Yes, if it is possible as a councillor to do so.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “May I suggest you make contact with HRH Prince of Wales with a view to reinstating the Royal Forest of Dean? I believe it was Quentin Hogg (Viscount Hailsham) who, in the House of Lords in 1972 initiated legislation under which the word “ROYAL” was to be discontinued, thereby leading to the availability of the Forest of Dean as an area open for commercial development (RUINATION).

Prince Charles may say there is nothing he can do. Or he might say there is, and that he will do it. In either case it should be worth a try – no harm in asking.”

0RHODESBOB RHODES

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “As an asset of the people of the Forest of Dean it must be governed locally and accountably.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “As a public asset, I believe that the Forest should be nurtured and utilised for communal benefit and enjoy the public investment needed to secure these principles and purposes on a continuing basis.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “As already stated, I believe that a sustainable Forest of Dean needs the security that rules out the potential for opportunist asset stripping and/ or neglect.”


LYDBROOK & RUARDEAN

0GARDINERANDREW GARDINER

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Yes, because I have essentially been actively engaged in maintaining forest freedom and rights – initially for the leased land Lodge Grove from 1969 – then 1967/1981 Forestry Bill Exemption – to the planned sales 2010/1 – to the current betrayal through exchange/ sales of the Northern Quarter (irrespectively concerning estimates of upwards of £ 25 million of public funds have been invested since 1974 on behalf of the public for recreation and wildlife ) for the exclusive benefit of the forestry, Forest of Dean District Council and Homes & Community Agency and MP. We must not surrender this public assets purchased by the public for the public.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “As stated above.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes, for reason as stated above.”

0REDKAREN BROWN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I am proud to live in the Forest of Dean. I want the Forest to remain in public ownership for ever for my children to enjoy.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Absolutely. I will be happy to campaign for at least the £22 million, as I believe it should be more.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I will campaign to press for a Special Status.”

0GUYTONCOLIN GUYTON

Yes

0HOGANBRUCE HOGAN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I was a member of the HOOF steering group until a bout of illness and doctor’s instruction to reduce my workload forced me to step back. I believe that the Nation’s forests, particularly the heritage forests like the Forest of Dean, belong in public ownership under the overall stewardship of the Government which is ultimately answerable to the electorate via the ballot box.

I believe that the communities living and working within our heritage forests should have a voice within any new management structure, but this should not be to the exclusion of those, less privileged than us, who rely on our forests for recreation and leisure pursuits. Any community representation should be democratically accountable, not based solely on ministerial appointment.

My political party is committed to maintaining the Public Forest Estate.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “The sums required are insignificant compared to the value of the Public Forest Estate to the health and welfare of and ecological benefits to the Nation.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I do believe that the Forest of Dean deserves Special Status, but I remain to be convinced that any of the currently available statuses i.e. National Park or AONB is appropriate.

The Forest of Dean is not a wilderness. It has been shaped by mankind and continues to be so. It has a rich industrial heritage which continues to this day with traditions such as Freemining and Commoning. These have a valued place within the Dean and although they need to be regulated, their existence is part of what makes our heritage forest unique.

Part of the legacy of our industrial past is that the population of the District, particularly within the three towns Lydney, Coleford and Cinderford along with the ‘Forest Ring’ of villages, is far higher than one would expect from the current level of economic activity.

It would be a betrayal of our industrial past if the Forest of Dean were to become a dormitory for the well-heeled and retired, offering no future for our youngsters.

An economically vibrant Forest of Dean based on new low-impact knowledge-based technologies is the future I wish to strive for. The protection of our woodlands and ecology is key to achieving these aspirations.”

0PURPLEROGER (JIMMY) JEWELL

Yes

0PARSONSEDDIE PARSONS

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The freedom to enjoy the Forest of Dean has been a huge benefit to me both as an adult and as a child. It is vital that the Forest is safeguarded from inappropriate development that would deny such enjoyment to future generations.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I recognise that the benefits that we gain from this necessary extra funding for the Forest, whilst in many ways unquantifiable, would represent true value for money.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I agree that the Forest of Dean needs special protection but what this precisely means should be consulted upon and should not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.”

0THOMSONDAVID THOMSON

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The forests are community assets and provide multiple benefits at a ridiculously low cost.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “As before.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “As a ‘lived in’ forest, special requirements apply.”


LYDNEY EAST

0HOBMANVAL HOBMAN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “This is my home, I was born and brought up here. I think this is the most beautiful area, and no matter where I go, always glad to get home.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “I will do my best. I do not think that the money should rely on private sector.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “If HOOF feel that is what is needed, then I am well for it.”

0BLUESTEPH LORD

Yes

0STOCKHAMSTEVE STOCKHAM

Yes.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes, on the understanding that the wording for special protection would be consulted upon and would not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.”

GENERAL COMMENT: “I am delighted to put my name to your three pledges and also to offer a further 4th pledge that the Green Party hope will also help the protection of our most valuable resource, our Forest.


“If elected I should like to invite you to use my position on the Council to raise concerns and proposals for the protection and management of the Forest as I will consider this to be one of my prime public duties and would welcome any committed and expert advice and opinion on the matter.

“I have also applied to be co-opted on to Lydney Town Council and, if successful, will be happy to assist with whatever influence the Town Council has on the Forest and its access.

Pledge 4 – this is The Forest of Dean Green Party Pledge that will be announced at the HOOF Hustings on Wednesday 22nd  and must be kept under wraps until then.

If any of this is not clear or has raised any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me as I feel we are all working for the common good of the Forest.”


LYDNEY NORTH

SDESTINY BLAKE

Yes

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes, subject to full consultation, and that special protection refers to the balanced dynamism of a working and sustainable Forest which does not hinder sustainable development.”

0PREESTALAN PREEST

Yes


MITCHELDEAN & DRYBROOK

0PURPLESTEVE BEAUMONT

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Forest of Dean is unique in its relatively unspoilt nature, and a great deal of history. Only those with a vested interest in preserving this should have any say in its future and must be answerable to the local community prior to any decisions being made.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “The preservation of what is a historic and unique area for all to enjoy, must have investment. Any leisure facility or landmark is entitled to financial support the Forest is no different.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “The preservation of the Forest is in my opinion not for discussion, and therefore it should have Special Status. This would be the only way to ensure it is a respected National treasure.”

0PURPLEMALCOLM BERRY

Yes

GENERAL COMMENT: “I am extremely sympathetic to your cause.”

0AMBERHEATHER DALZIEL

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”

 

0FRASERJACKIE FRASER

Yes

0AMBERJONATHAN GAULT

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”

0AMBERSUE HENCHLEY

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”

0REDANDREW KNIGHT

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I oppose all efforts to take our Forest from Us.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Yes I will [fight for it].”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes [I will fight for it] with all I can achieve.”

0ROBINSONBRIAN ROBINSON

Did not sign pledges, but responded:

Thank you for your email seeking my support to protect the Forest. I regard our local forest to be a unique national treasure and I have worked hard through my role as a conservative councillor and former board member of the South West Regional Development Agency to ensure that our national government understands and protects this for future generations.

I was pleased to hear David Heath the last government’s Forestry Minister reassure us personally at a meeting in Speech House that the Forest of Dean would be kept in public ownership and protected.

The letters to HOOF that I have copied below from Mark Harper [see near top of this page] and David Cameron set out a clear commitment to continued public ownership of the Forest and I will work locally to help deliver the outcomes promised in these letters.

I would like to thank HOOF for championing this important issue and engaging constructively to help suture a safe future for our Forest.”

0SALTERNIGEL SALTER

Yes

0SCOTTDOUGLAS SCOTT

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “It’s imperative Forest communities should have a greater say in the way forests are managed.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “In my view the private sector should have NO involvement in the forest estates and should be funded solely from the nation’s purse.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “The traditions of the forest are exactly what make this area unique and it’s essential to preserve that for future generations.”

0WHITBURNIAN WHITBURN

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “YES I will! I believe in a public Forest of Dean that is safe from any development and safe for future generations.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “The Forest must be protected for the future and adequate funding needs to be available to safeguard that.

The unique nature of the forest is too important to be allowed to be subject to the whims of commercial forces.

The balance of people nature and commerce can only survive with public money and any body set up to protect it must contain safeguards we can be sure will protect it.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I believe the Forest should be protected for future generations and I support the securing of the highest special status possible.”


 NEWLAND & ST BRIAVELS

0MCFARLINGCHRIS McFARLING

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Without long-term protection, our Forests will remain at the whim and fancy of whichever government wishes to derive profit, develop, fragment or remove this wonderful natural resource. Forests are central to the ecosphere that provides us with fresh air, clean water, fertile soil and climatic stability.

I would furthermore seek protection that is longer-term, sustainable and biodiverse to be enjoyed by future generations.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Forests are our public asset. They are our security, for the future. In many ways, their value is inestimable and without doubt worthy of financial investment for us, for them for all.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I am answering YES to the spirit of this pledge as protection is critical in the long-term. My YES is on the understanding that the wording for special protection would be consulted upon and would not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.

I would also want clarification on a number of details.

What boundary would HOOF be using for Special Status? According to your statements in this document, Page 1,

HOOF defines the Forest of Dean as not only the statutory Forest (the central block) but also outlying areas of Public Forest Estate (as marked on Ordnance Survey maps), namely Highmeadow Woods, Dymock Woods, Bearse Slade, Tidenham Chase and Wye Valley, Hope, Flaxley and Welshbury Woods, Clearwell Woods, Lords Wood, Clanna Wood and Kidnalls Wood.”

Would such special status therefore insist on the natural development of wildlife corridors across unforested, and currently privately owned, land to reconnect these disparate woods and contribute to biodiversity integrity and ecosystemic resilience?

Would such special status allow for rewilding to take place, and for instance the reintroduction of the Lynx, as is happening in 3 other national Forests today?

Would such special status allow for renewable energies to be developed which help reduce climate change and help secure the long-term future of the very forest we wish to protect?

Would such special status consider bioregional markers and indicators of sustainability such that the Dean is not impoverished by unsustainable Special Status conditions?

Would such special status allow the Forestry Commission to build in native regeneration, the felling of some non-native species and the removal of conifer plantations?

Would the Forestry Commission be permitted to run the Forest as a financially sustainable concern or be tied to conditions which would require an ever increasing public subsidy?

Would the removal of larch impact negatively on freeminers mine props?

These are a few questions I would want answered before committing to the correct special status of long term benefit to the Forest of Dean.”

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: “Pledge 4:

YES. I will also support the Forest of Dean Green Party pledge to be announced at the HOOF Hustings on Wednesday 22nd April 2015.”

0REDANNA PARRY-HEARN

Yes

0WHEELERDAVID WHEELER

Did not sign pledges, but commented:

“May I confirm that I am broadly in favour of everything that HOOF stands for. I am not however prepared to sign up willy-nilly to the statements that you are asking me to, without some judicious comment and clarification, so here goes:

Firstly, the wording of all your pledges worries me. Yes I will support the majority of what you say, and have always done so. But it asks me to ‘support and promote’ HOOF ideals. Firstly, there may be little opportunity to do so in detail at District Council level, and secondly, as an Independent Councillor my priority will be representing my constituents. What I am saying is, if elected, on my first day my over-riding thought will NOT be ‘How can I promote HOOF ideals?’ It will be – how can I represent the people of Newland and St Briavels. On the other hand if the issues that you raise do come up, I will by and large support all your ideals in debate and in voting

So – to each pledge:

1.  yes I am wholly in favour of public ownership and community accountability of the National Forest Estate.- and in particular the Forest of Dean. This ties in with my view that over the past forty (?) years we have seen the public estate generally sold off to no significant advantage. I believe in public ownership of the nations assets be it woodland; moorland; infrastructure; water or anything else.

2.  yes – from the above it follows that if the Forest Estate remains in public ownership that it must be properly funded. However it is important to understand that this is not possible at a time of more public funding cuts and an obsession with reducing the economic deficit by cuts alone. So the pledge is in fact saying far more that it at first appears. What it is actually saying is – ‘Do you reject the political consensus of Austerity, and will you support significant expansion of public investment regardless of the economic consequences. And those consequences must inevitably be an increase in taxation (in whatever form).?’ Alternatively it is saying – will you support the proper public funding of the Forest Estate – even if this means increasing cuts to social care; the Police; education; highways etc?  So what you APPEAR to be asking me to do (in England) is commit myself to a support of the policies of the Green Party, as they are certainly the only Party to advocate this programme. And to a certain extent, I am in agreement, although I also believe that the deficit does need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.  So in essence, I agree with your pledge two, but it is a far more complex pledge than you make it.

3. The most difficult one. Largely because you do not define special status, and nor do you say what the ‘special status’ would mean. I suspect that you wish to restrict development within the Dean, and this inevitably means conflict with private; public; local and national interests; so here are a few thoughts:

  • Special status will largely affect issues around Development applications – ie. planning
  • I have lived in Redbrook at the heart of the AONB for thirty five years. The AONB has not prevented some astonishing development, some of which is very fine, and some of which is very poor. the holy grail of ‘special status’ will not necessarily achieve all that this pledge seeks.
  • I totally agree that the Forest of Dean is unique. It has unique landscape; unique customs and privileges; and unique wildlife. And these need protecting. Those of you who have been campaigning for longer than I on this issue (and that probably means for at least thirty years!) will know that in my twenty years on the planning committee I was a massive campaigner for the preservation of ‘Forest Waste’ in places like Oldcroft; Yorkley; Coalway and Broadwell Lane End, Pillowell, and in my own area at Clearwell Mesne. So you probably have my support. HOWEVER this also means that residents (be they local Foresters or ‘incomers’) necessarily have to put up with having no vehicular access to their properties; being unable to have gardens that they can ‘protect’; and that these communities can become dangerously fossilised. You need to be very careful what you wish for
  • Wild Boar – one of our unique bits of wildlife ! I’m not sure where you stand on the Boar issue – and I am not sure I know where I stand on the Boar issue either. However, just take one issue. Are HOOF prepared to financially support Football Clubs like Soudley; Whitecroft and Yorkley either provide Boar proof fencing (almost impossible?) or help pay for the damage they do?

So, in principle, I agree with pledge Three. But i do not think some of you know exactly what it means, and have not thought through its full ramifications. Yes I will in general support this ideal, but there will be occasions where prudence and common sense have to prevail.

I hope in the above that you can see that i have given your document serious consideration, and have tried to give you a balanced and reasoned response. You have my permission to use this response BUT ONLY IF YOU USE IT IN FULL.

many Thanks

Dave Wheeler

Experienced in these issues at a political level for well over thirty years!”


NEWENT CENTRAL

0AMBERGILL MOSELEY

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”


NEWNHAM & WESTBURY

0PURPLEJOHN CUMPER

Yes

0MARSHALLATOM MARSHALL-ANDREWS

Yes

SPECIAL STATUS: On the understanding that the wording for special protection be consulted upon and would not obstruct appropriate sustainable development.

0PHELPSSIMONSIMON PHELPS

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Forest of Dean is Crown property managed by the Government and it is not for them to sell off.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “To protect the native woodlands I do not want the Forest of Dean to become a vast conifer forest.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “To protect the landscape, native tree species, natural wildlife, the history, heritage (rights of Forest people) and to give the Verderers some real purpose.”


 OXENHALL & NEWENT NORTH EAST

0BACKJOHNNY-LUKE BACK

Yes

GENERAL: “I think the work you are doing is really great and so heavily needed and I will look to get involved when I have time in the future.”

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Yes, because we agree completely.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “Myself and the Green Party want to do everything required to protect, maintain and support the Forest.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Because the Forest deserves that status and recognition of its natural beauty and uniqueness.”

Craig profile Newest 1CRAIG LAWTON

Did not sign HOOF pledges, but responded:

Preserving our green and natural spaces is extremely important. Once they are lost it is very difficult to get them back. I therefore agree that the Forest of Dean should be preserved for future generation to use and enjoy.
 
I am pleased that Mark Harper raised this matter with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and that they have both pledged to support the Forest.
 
I also wrote to David Cameron on 29 September 2014 when I was asked to raise a policy with the Prime Minister that I felt needed consideration. The matter that I chose to raise was that of keeping the Forest of Dean in public ownership.
 
I therefore agree that the Forest should not be transferred to a charity or private company and I will work hard to make sure that it remains in public ownership.
 
The Forest’s status is important as not only does it give it certain protections and rights, it is also one of the best ways of marketing it as a tourist destination. I therefore fully support the preservation of the Forest’s status.
 
If any further suggestions were made regarding enhancing the status of the Forest I will of course consider these fully to explore how they could further help the Forest both regarding its preservation and its marketability as a destination for tourism both locally and globally.
 
I will work to try and bring any and as much funding as is possible to the Forest. I am not setting a figure of £22 million as a target as I am unsure where this money is needed or if any potential funding would be ring-fenced.
 
The Forest should not have to rely on private funding or charities. However if funding and assistance is available from either of these sources, and the use of it would not go against the needs and requirements of the Forest, I will work hard to bring this to the Forest as well.
 
The Forest of Dean should not have to rely on one single source of funding, especially if other money is available to help.
 
I have worked with a number of other groups and causes to try and help them secure funding, both in my job and as a District Council candidate, and would do the same for Public Forest Estate of the Forest of Dean.”


PILLOWELL

0PURPLEALAN GRANT

Yes

0REDANDY HEWLETT

Yes

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “I believe that all country’s forests, including the Forest of Dean, belong in public ownership under the Forestry Commission. They are answerable to the Government, who are in turn are answerable to the public.

The Labour party is committed to maintaining the Public Forest Estate.”

ADEQUATE FUNDING: “I am totally opposed to any private sector involvement in the Forest of Dean, as well as the other Forests in the country. The money required is insignificant compared to the value that the Forest offers to locals and visitors alike, as well as maintaining this valuable national asset.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “I agree that the Forest of Dean deserves Special Status, but I am uncertain at the moment as to what exactly that should be. The Forest is home to many people who all need to live and work in the area, which is an integral part of the uniqueness of the Forest of Dean.

I have no wish to see the Forest become a playground for the rich and privileged only.”

0WITHAMCHRIS WITHAM

Yes


REDMARLEY

0REDCAROLYN HEWLETT

Yes

0PURPLEALEX TRITTON

Yes


TIBBERTON

0HORNEJANE HORNE

Did not sign pledges, but responded:

Dear Hoof,
I have and always will be an ardent campaigner for the protection of all Forests, Village Greens and all things that improve and sustain wildlife and the wellbeing of our people.
I don’t like the rather threatening content of your letter and find that it is patronising.”

0AMBERIAN KING

Yes. 

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “The Lib Dems would support a statutory charter.  We think it important to keep the Forests in Public ownership and agree with community representation.  We would promote the HOOF ideals within our party and, if elected, council group.

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “We would do our utmost to secure adequate funding from the public purse and/or the local council.  However we think it important that the Forests are self-sustaining as far as possible, promoting tourism and recognising that timber felling contributes to a forest’s ecology as well as being a source of funding.  We agree that it is important to maintain the balance between people, nature and economy.

SPECIAL STATUS: “Yes. However, we think there is a debate to be held over what Special Status means.  It would be natural for local councillors to fight for their local Forest in the first instance, and for the customs and privileges to be secured.  Other forests have similar customs and privileges and it might be more prudent to recognise their needs as well as those of the Dean.  We support the campaigning for AONB or similar status.

Below is an excerpt from the Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015:

Our manifesto includes plans for a Nature Law which will protect the UK’s wildlife, green spaces, plants and trees, improve waste and boost recycling. We will put nature at the heart of government decision-making, making our “Natural Capital Committee” permanent, with legal status so its recommendations have to be listened to. We will protect habitats from forests to oceans, and the creatures that call them home, from bees to birds. And because we believe everyone should have access to nature, we’ll complete the coastal path around the UK, improve the Right to Roam, protect more of the local green spaces people value as National Nature Parks and create a new public body to protect our forests for future generations.

We also promise to plant a tree for every child born, and make more green spaces accessible to all.”


 TIDENHAM

0BOWIEDR FIONA BOWIE

Yes.

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY: “Natural resources, including our ancient forests and National Parks, should be managed and owned by public bodies, not in private hands.”

ADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING: “The Forest of Dean is a precious natural resource that generates income through tourism and recreation, and provides a fantastic environment in which to live. It is a managed environment that requires continued investment in order to retain its character for both wildlife and people.”

SPECIAL STATUS: “Without special status the Forest of Dean remains vulnerable to speculative development that only benefits private owners, for short-term financial gain. The idea that the UK is for sale to the highest bidder has to stop NOW!”

0BLUEHELEN MOLYNEUX

Did not sign pledges, but responded:

“I am committed to supporting and championing the key principles of the Hoof Campaign. If I am elected on May 7th. I will fully endorse what David Cameron, the Prime Minister and Mark Harper our current MP have said and will work to hold them to the promises they have made with regard to the Forest of Dean.

Therefore, if I am elected I will work to ensure the following:

a) that the Public Forest Estate, including the Forest of Dean, remains in public ownership.

b) Forest of Dean-specific legislative provisions remain in force and that its special status is protected.

c) that the Forestry Commission, with the necessary resources to continue its work in woodland management, can increase woodland brought into active management and support the planting of thousands of acres of new trees.”

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