Monday, 14 February 2011

Template - Press Release

Dear all

Please find below a template press release which you can use to promote your local campaigns. Email me if you have any questions. Please note that this just a guide so feel free to add/delete to make it suitable for your campaign to save our forests!

Thank you!

You can copy and paste it (see below) or download by going here

For immediate release/Embargoed until xx.xx.2011 [delete as appropriate]

[Name of town/village/county] Residents Against Proposed Government Sale Of Woodlands

Residents of xxx, against the government’s proposed sale of Forestry Commission controlled woodland, will gather at [insert location] on [insert date of protest] to voice their opposition.

They join with over half a million people nationwide who have signed an online petition  opposing the proposed forestry sell-off. Moreover, three-quarters of the 2,000 Brits polled by YouGov in January also stated that they were against the plans.

The Forestry Commission in England boasts 40 million visits a year.

[insert name of campaigner] from [insert name of town/village] comments: “Our woodlands are national treasures for all to enjoy, offering us countless benefits –  from activities such as walking, cycling, picnicking and birding, to simply providing a peaceful place to get away from the many stresses of life and enjoy nature.

If public woodlands are broken up and privatised, it could mean a significant reduction in both public access to the woodland and in the standards of care for the wildlife, including some endangered native species, that lives there.”

The government has stated that no conclusion has yet been made and that a public consultation is now taking place, However the plans, which are contained in the Public Bodies Bill and were not included in either Coalition party manifesto, nor debated at election-time, still continue to work their way through the House of Lords.

Meanwhile, the government’s consultation document itself poses no question on whether respondents are for or against the sale of public woodland. Instead, it asks how our forests should be privatised.  Public opinion strongly suggests that the majority of the British public does not want our forests privatised at all.

Campaigners are concerned that changing forestry policy, and acting on it, is a long-term project that requires careful management and co-ordination. According to government plans, there is no guarantee that a piecemeal sell-off would continue this co-ordination and balancing of needs that has been the preserve of the Forestry Commission.

The privatisation of public woodland could also cost the government millions of pounds in lost tax revenues and cancel out most of the money raised from a sale, as private owners enjoy exemption from capital gains tax, income tax and inheritance tax.

 [Insert name of campaigner] from [insert name of town/village] comments: “This planned sell off has nothing to do with the sound management of our forests and the wellbeing of the people, flora and fauna that are served by those forests. It is unlikely that the public purse will benefit from the sale of these precious assets and it is possible that private companies could cherry-pick sites for commercial development, and voluntary groups would be left to look after ancient woodlands without a budget.

According to its most recent accounts, the Forestry Commission costs the taxpayer about £10 million a year – this is equivalent to 30p a year for every taxpayer. Even in our ‘age of austerity’, we strongly feel that this is very good value for money!”
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