A group of Gateshead campaigners who took up the battle to save their local woodland were yesterday praised in the House of Commons as the Tory-led government abandoned plans to sell off forests.


Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment congratulated Friends of Chopwell Woods and their secretary, Liz Searle for their success of their campaign. Mary Creagh visited Chopwell Woods, near Rowlands Gill with Blaydon MP, Dave Anderson during the Shadow Cabinet's visit to the North East earlier this month.


Speaking to the House of Commons, Mary Creag MP said:

"Today is not a victory for politics as usual: it is a victory for Liz Searle of the Friends of Chopwell Wood, whom I met in Gateshead two weeks ago, for the Save Cannock Chase campaigners, and for the Friends of Dalby Forest, members of which I met in York last weekend. It is a victory for the Save Our Woods campaign, for Alan Robertson from the Hands Off Our Forest campaign in the Forest of Dean, and for thousands of others. I hope that Government Members are listening to those names and will contact those campaigners. They signed the Save Our Forests petition and the Save England's Forests petition, and supported the silent majority in speaking up and telling the Government, "This land is our land".


"Today the air is filled with the sound of chickens coming home to roost. The Secretary of State has discovered that her first priority-delivering the 30% cut that she inflicted on her Department-has a hefty political price attached. Half a million people have marched, mountain-biked and petitioned against her sale of the century. They objected to the once-in-a-lifetime offer to buy something that they already collectively own. Under the cloak of reducing the deficit, she came up with a policy that her own Department admitted would cost more than it delivered in benefits, and which would have fragmented the environmental stewardship of England's forests."