LONDON — Ministers are planning a massive sell-off of Britain’s state-owned forests as they seek to raise billions of pounds to help cut the deficit, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, is expected to announce plans within days to dispose of about half of the 748,000 hectares (1.85 million acres) of woodland overseen by the Forestry Commission by 2020, according to the newspaper.
The controversial decision will pave the way for a huge expansion in the number of Center Parcs-style holiday villages, golf courses, adventure sites and commercial logging operations throughout Britain as land is sold to private companies, the report added.
The forestry commissions lands were last valued in the 1990s at 2.5 million pounds, the Telegraph said.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed that the Government will be setting out its details of its “strategic approach” to forestry this autumn.
“We will ensure our forests continue to play a full role in our efforts to combat climate change, protect the environment and enhance biodiversity, provide green space for access and recreation, alongside seeking opportunities to support modernization and growth in the forestry sector,” a spokesman said.
Allan MacKenzie, the secretary of the Forestry Commission Trade Unions, warned that they would fight the sell-off.
“Once we’ve sold it, it never comes back. Once it is sold, restrictions are placed on the land which means the public don’t get the same access to the land and facilities that are provided by the public forest estate,” he told the Telegraph.
“The current system means a vast amount of people can enjoy forests and feel ownership of them. It is an integral part of society.”
Bill Maher rips Trump and ‘the gang that couldn’t do treason straight’ on Real Time
HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher ripped the incompetence of the Trump administration after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confessed that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine in Rudy Giuliani's search for foreign election assistance.
"It's not just that he's always breaking the law, it's that he obviously wants you to know about it," Maher said. "The Joker doesn't want to get caught this bad."
"This is Trump's definition of three-dimensional chess, 'I'm going to distract you from impeaching me by committing more crimes," he said.
"It's like he comes home and Melania says to him, 'you have lipstick on your color,' and he says, 'you should see my d*ck,'" Maher said.
‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience
The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.
The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."
Photos from the protest:
1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.
Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report
President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.
"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."