People power has won the day for our valued woods

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Have your say

It is a well-worn phrase and it isn’t always heeded but let the people speak!

In the case of the government’s proposal to sell off 258,000 hectares of woodland, the public have had their say and they have definitely seen a result.

We weren’t surprised so many people objected to these plans, especially considering the speed at which a consultation to look into this issue materialised. No sooner had it made its way on to the drawing board, it was flying off it.

People were keen to register their opposition to proposals that would see valuable public assets transferred into the hands of private businesses or individuals.

And object they most certainly did with around half a million people flocking to sign a petition against the idea.

Now everyone who expressed their unhappiness about this issue will be delighted to hear that the government appears to have had a change of heart.

We couldn’t dare dream that petitions and public consultations will always achieve the same satisfactory conclusions. But in this case it would appear that people power has won the day.

Of course, no government can run the country’s affairs by referendum alone. Tough choices and unpopular decisions will always have to be made.

But a government must never stop striving to stay in tune with its electorate – and the same goes for every other organisation that finds itself answering to the public.

In relation to the decision to close the G5 ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital – a much-cherished facility dedicated to providing end-of-life-care – many people have voiced their concern. They have been unhappy about the level of public consultation carried out by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and think the new service isn’t as good.

The independent panel investigating the closure say they have been impressed by the passion of campaigners fighting for it to re-open. We hope the 10,000 name petition can help bring about a change of heart.

Letting the people speak is crucial – as is letting them be heard.