SUPPORT is growing in the Forest of Dean against rumoured plans to privatise forests across the UK.
Government environment secretary Caroline Spelman wants to sell half the country's Forestry Commission land by 2020, according to information leaked to the media.
Sold-off woodland could be used for commercial logging, or cleared to build golf courses or holiday complexes such as Center Parcs.
The issue has become the hot topic in the Forest of Dean, and more and more people are lending their voice to the campaign against selling off parts of the Forest.
Colin Smith, Chairman of the Friends of the Forest group, said: "In these modern times the value of forests to the well-being of our planet, and hence all its inhabitants, is increasingly understood by everyone except, apparently, our Government.
"Its worship of money and its desire to line the pockets of its favoured friends and supporters quite obviously come before integrity, the environment and the rights of the real owners of the nation's woodlands – the public who pay the salary of all Members of Parliament."
He added: "We call upon all Foresters to unite over this matter.
"Hopefully, each parish and town council in this district will act immediately to oppose the very idea of our ancient natural recreation grounds falling into the hands of those who view this veritable jewel as nothing more than a money-making opportunity to be exploited."
Richard Phelps, Coleford town councillor, said the support against the plans are ever growing in the area.
He said: "A lot of people are talking about it, and I am 100 per cent against it.
"I will support any campaign against the selling off of the land. We need to build on what we have here already and preserve it, not take it away.
"The Forest is such a beautiful place and it is a privilege to be able to enjoy it for free – and that is the way it should be."