The save the forests petition now has well over 300,000 signatures. Melvyn Bragg and Eric Robson are voicing their opposition (thanks Wurz for pointing this out). One Voice have put out a position statement on the New Forest.
The One Voice statement is interesting as it suggests that policy is being made on the hoof without being properly thought through. I hope the government take a step back and reconsider what they are proposing. I fear that they will want to appear “tough and resolute”.
In my view, they could gain a lot of political brownie points by suspending the sale and having a meaningful consultation period (not the short one they are proposing). Listening to the people is important, as Mubarak is finding out. In terms of reducing the budget deficit, this is small beer. It might even be negative if subsidies for private owners are introduced.