MP to vote against government plans to sell off woodlands

Mike Hancock MP
Mike Hancock MP

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PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock will oppose government plans to sell state-owned woodlands.

The Liberal Democrat representative for the south of the city will be speaking at the Houses of Commons at 4.30pm today.

In Hampshire part of the Forest of Bere runs near Wickham and is a beauty spot enjoyed by many.

It comes after a 12-week consultation was launched to see how ownership and management of the 18 per cent of England’s woodland currently run by the Forestry Commission, could be sold to private companies.

But the government is insisting the woodland will not go to the highest bidders and the land will remain under tight constraints.

Mr Hancock said: ‘This is nothing new, the Labour government have been doing this for years.

‘They sold off forest land with very little protection for the public.

‘At least this time the government is consulting openly about these plans.

‘We want to prevent a situation where something is taken out of public control because things like car parking charges could be increased.

‘We are lucky to have one forest so close to Portsmouth.

‘I know the benefits of having a day out on the woodland area as I used to go when I was younger and have taken my children there too.

‘It can be an adventure and I think it will be a mistake to take it out of public control.’