Sefton Central Labour MP calls for Tories and Lib Dems to u-turn

 

Bill Esterson
Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson voted against the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government's plans to sell off the country's forests and woodland.

The MP has been contacted by more constituents on the planned sell-off than any other issue.

Bill said the residents are universally worried about the loss of access to woods and forests and about any developers' plans for the land.

Bill said: "More people have contacted me about this issue than about any other subject to date. Which just goes to show the level of concern people have about the sell off of our public land.

"They are worried about the loss of access to woods and forests and about the plans of developers.

"One question that keeps cropping up is why would developers buy woods and forests? If not to chop down the trees and build on the land then why?

"The government has not given any idea of how the land will be protected from development or how the people will still be able to use the land.

"The concern is that this sell off is being used to help developers not the public.

"Labour will continue to oppose the sell off and I am very grateful to all the people who have written to me about this subject."

Speaking during the debate in Parliament on the sell-off of the forests, Bill Esterson raised a question which was put to him by a Maghull constituent.

During the debate Bill said:  " I want to raise the issue of the public perception of the plans, and to read out what my constituent, Lindsey Page, has told me. She says: 'I have heard the argument that if a forest area is sold off then there will be no safeguards written into the contract of sale that should safeguard the access, but I don't believe such contracts are enforceable.'

"Does not that go to the heart of the matter? The public have no faith that there will be adequate safeguards."

The MP went on to quote a Crosby constituent to urge the government to u-turn on its sell-off plans.

Bill told the Commons: "One of my constituents from Crosby, Kay Redmond, backs up what is being said about keeping the forests in public ownership

"Kay told me that we must 'maintain current access for the public and to protect the diverse wildlife found in forests'."

Bill said the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had miscalculated public opinion in regard to the controversial proposals.

Bill added: "There is clearly very strong opposition to these plans and that is why the public are being so vocal in opposing the sell-off.

"It is vital we keep our forests and woodland in public ownership, to ensure that we keep full public access to them. And it is crucial that we oppose plans to build on our woodland and our greenbelt."