It’s nearly exactly a year since the government scrapped plans to sell-off England’s publically-owned forests – but 2,000 acres of the Quantock Hills are set to be sold by Somerset County Council.
Plans to sell Great Wood, Customs Common and Thorncombe Hill were approved on Tuesday, with the council reportedly wanting to reinvest the money in schools and roads.
The Quantock Hills are popular with mountain bikers and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is protected by statutory legislation which requires public access to remain in place in the event of a sale.
But Bishops Lydeard parish councillor Mike Rigby told the Western Daily News: “We risk damaging this fragile landscape that’s so well loved. Much of the council-owned land is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and it’s all in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Apart from the forestry area, most of it is open heathland and I cannot see the benefit of owning it for anyone.”
The sale is set to be finalised on February 17 but will first be debated at a council meeting on Wednesday. More than 30,000 people have signed the 38 Degrees petition to oppose the sell-off. You can add you name here.