UKTC Archive

RE: FC sell off?

Subject: RE: FC sell off?
From: John . Blessington
Date: Nov 24 2008 17:20:12

Bring back clause IV

Maggie tried to privatise FC but failed, we just got more sporadic sell
offs of woodlands (I would suggest an increase in disposals is actually an
attempted defence against a wholesale sell off).  Most of the same
arguments we used against it then still hold good, but I fear thirst for
cash is probably is probably a more difficult opponent to overcome than
dogma. The regular auction of FC timber keeps the British timber
infrastructure working. The private sector only sell when prices are high
or they have to. Otherwise mills etc are likely to move entirely to ports
and much British forestry will become even more marginal as transport costs
are an absolute killer. Just the ticket when woodfuel is being trumpeted as
an important element of carbon friendly energy (and the wind doesn't even
have to blow continuously). This will further reduce the price the private
sector would pay for these assets. The FC actually frequently actually
manage to overvalue their current limited disposals, as supply is limited
and its take it or leave it. (Cheap disposals tend to be poor timber of
limited amenity value and far from markets). Won't hold true when there's
umpteen times what anyone is ever going to want to buy all available at
once though. 50/60/70 year returns aren't all that popular if anyone is
considering anything beyond creaming and flogging on. Public usage is
unlikely to be generally favoured, and whilst it might have to be tolerated
to an extent is unlikely to be encouraged on other than a commercial basis,
denying the public a huge opportunity that the national forest estate
should provide if multipurpose forestry could be properly valued - as set
against say the convenience of a short term one off cash injection.

Bad all round then - unless you just happen to be keen on getting hold of
some cheap timber short term, in which case it's great.

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