As a landowner I am a member of numerous organisations which try, with varying success, to inform politicians and the 'Urban elite' about the reality of much of what goes on in the countryside. I have just received a missive from one such body, Woodland Heritage, which is appealing to raise the trifling sum of £45,000 to carry out research into a disease called Acute Oak Decline (AOD) threatening our iconic English oak. Now I say £45,000 is a trifling sum, not, sadly, for me or most other foresters, but it is though surely for government. Remember this is a government which considered that spending £2.0 million on a fatuous survey to discover what made us 'happy' was a good use of taxpayers money. Well it doesn't, I would have thought, need a £2.0 million survey to tell even this bunch of mental pygmies in DEFRA and government that if AOD gets going and runs rampant, causing death and destruction among our oak trees, then it will make a lot of people very unhappy indeed.
The research is being undertaken by Dr. Sandra Denman at Forest Research and she has already discovered a new bacterium which is linked to AOD and money is now needed to carry out further mapping and research which is necessary to try and isolate the causes and to find a way to understand and tackle this disease. If you are interested in this major threat to our woodlands then you can look up her research to date at; ww.forestresearch.go.uk/oakdecline. Of course the obvious place to look for money would be from Rachel Johnstone who, you may remember, ran the fatuous, and extremely successful, campaign against the privatisation of the Forestry Commission woods in England. Come on Rachel use you undoubted media skills to do something really about 'saving our forest' and make a couple of phone calls to your Notting Hill Gate friends and get them to write out a cheque for the whole amount neede for this research and send it to Woodland Heritage, Arundel House, Haselmere GU27 1NE. Do this and we in the world of 'real' forestry just might begin to take you and your friends seriously.