David Cameron has, it seems, caved in to the Save our Forest campaign so I have written a letter to Rachel Johnston (soon surely to be granted the coveted title of 'National Treasure') and it occurred to me that I may as well publish it on the blog as well -hope you enjoy it
38 -40 Bedford Street
London WC2E 9ER
17 February 2011
RE SAVE OUR FORESTS
we who actually own woods and manage them wonder whether you are really concerend about ‘Saving Our Forests’ or are just interested in running a high profile PR campaign which has been distinguished by its complete flagrant disregard for the facts and its twisting of the truth?
If you really are interested in Saving our Forests - which I have to say we in the forestry and woodland world would love , here is what you ought to be campaigning for:
1. A complete ban on the importation of plant material into this country. You may not be aware of it – why should you as you patently know absolutely nothing about the subject you are campaigning on - but there is at this very moment a virulent pathogen at loose in our forests and woods called Phytophthora Ramorum which arrived in this country via camellias imported by Dutch Nurseries from China. The result is that tens of thousand of acres of larch trees – mainly in the South West and South Wales at present are being clear felled – it is in short a Woodland foot & Mouth . There is also a particularly nasty pest called the Processionary moth which is currently alive and well round Kew and came in via cypress trees imported from Italy and- if it was allowed to spread into our woodlands would make access to them a moot point as no one would want to go into them. Nor must I forget the Daily Telegraph who distinguished themselves by importing a large consignment of Acer trees from China as a ‘reader offer’ some which carried the deadly Asian Long Horned Beetle The trade in horticultural plants is – in short – the primary risk to our forests.
2. You have also –in your campaign – made use of the emotive photograph of a red squirrel. In your total ignorance you are obviously not aware that the only people who are doing anything to protect the red squirrel and to try to expand its range and even re introduce it into new areas are private woodland owners – the Forestry Commission gave up controlling it in most of their woods years ago
3. Ergo perhaps you and your unholy Notting Hill Gate meets Islington alliance might like to get behind a campaign to eradicate the grey squirrel thus (a) allowing the reintroduction of the Red and (b) improving vastly the health of Britain’s deciduous forests as the grey squirrel – by stripping the bark off young trees – is the single biggest enemy of woods and forests in the UK – but how should you know that?
4. You might also like to muster your troops behind a campaign to eradicate the Muntjac (do you know I wonder what that is) which likes nothing more than eating blue bell bulbs and the like and is a major threat to our woodland – currently its population is on course to double over the next eight years (it breeds all through the year). No doubt though you and your friends are too cowardly and squeamish to propose such a necessary policy in order to Save our Forests.
5. You should realise that contrary to your emotive rubbish that woodland in the UK has always been worked as an economic resource and actually needs to be worked in order to provide much of the benefit which you ridiculous Urban people take for granted- there is an old adage – the wood that pays is the wood that stays – in short woods ‘do not look after themselves – foresters look after them. To make woods more profitable we need you luvvies and second rate celebs to buy and promote products from them
6. You might also discover –if you had asked – that the Forestry Commission currently loses some £40 m annually by mismanaging its woods and that strangely I and others in the private sector make money out of ours and manage them far better as well – tarring private woodland owners as some form of asset stripping idiots as you have is a travesty of the truth .
That’s enough for now - give my regards to Ivo and tell the stupid bastard to give me a call when he is down here as would love to see him and – when next he is down taking journalists round that monstrous white elephant of a house – Castle Drogo – to call in – It is only ten minutes away
Yours in Despair