I have branded Maidstone's MP as utterly irresponsible after Helen Grant voted on Wednesday to back the government's forestry sell off which will include Bedgebury Forest near Cranbrook. Part of Bedgebury Forest is in our constituency.
Stuart Jeffery who stood against Helen Grant in last year's parliamentary election, said: "I am appalled that Helen Grant can think it reasonable to sell off one of the country's greatest assets, our forests. This is an utterly irresponsible act of environmental vandalism.
"At present, the price of maintaining our forests amounts to 30p annually for each one of us. This represents tremendous value for money. The planned sell off amounts to 374,000 hectares of publicly owned land, much of which could be turned into privately owned leisure centres if the Government gets it way. There is no guarantee that the forest will be accessible to the public, no guarantee that it will be properly managed and no guarantee that it will even keep its trees.
"Selling what is rightfully owned by the public is a massive backward step and once gone will never be regained without huge cost to the taxpayer. This is ideological and not in the public interest. Our forests not only provide enjoyment for millions of people, but are essential to maintain biodiversity in an age of increasingly intensive farming. This government has called itself the 'greenest ever' but this claim is fast becoming the subject of derision."