Campaign launched to save ancient wood

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A CAMPAIGN is underway to stop 86 hectares of ancient forest at Wombwell being sold off.

Government proposals that are passing through Parliament now could see all the country’s swathes of public forestry sold to the highest bidder.

Wombwell Wood is one of 1,400 English woodland areas that is managed by the Forestry Commission, and it is the biggest natural area for people to enjoy this side of Barnsley.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher is among those who have called for a re-think on the controversial plans, against which over 360,000 people have already signed a petition.

Mr Dugher said: “I have had almost a hundred people write to me and they all tell me how they want our woods to be protected. Places such as Wombwell Wood are well-used and much loved by the local community.

“Anyone who has been to Wombwell Wood will know what a beautiful area it is. The natural playground and wildlife make it a great place to take the kids. The Government should listen to the public, as 84% of people polled are opposed to this measure.”

Labour led an Opposition Day Debate last week about the Government’s proposals amid the ‘fight to save our forests’.

And Mr Dugher is linking with local councillors to discuss how the campaign can be taken forward. He is to approach Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the issue.

The MP added: “The true value of England’s forests will never be reflected in the price the Government gets from selling them. The Government should listen to the protests and think again”.

Wombwell Councillor Dick Wraith said: “Wombwell woods have always been well used and a lot of money has been spent there on improving them and planting new trees. We are waiting to hear the full facts of what’s being proposed but no-one wants to lose the wood as a public facility”.