Letters to the Editor
Your letters and feedback are warmly welcomed at Kent Life.
A time for vigilance
While the government seems to have abandoned its plans to sell off 258,000 hectares of woodland run by the Forestry Commission, we must still make our voices heard and keep the pressure on our legislators. This may appear unnecessary after the governmental volte face, however there are still plans on the table to sell the nations woodland, albeit stealthily.
The government is still allowed to sell 15 per cent of England’s woodlands in each four-year public spending period, and this sets a dangerous precedent for our diminishing woodland.
This 15 per cent sale (40k ha, or 100k acres) will likely begin in April, once the criteria for selection and protection are established and it could have terrible repercussions for public access and biodiversity.
At a time when many young families are seeking cheaper ways to entertain the children, and the public are in need of tranquil places to rest, relax and remove themselves from their busy urban lifestyles, one wonders why the government thinks the sale of huge chunks of our woodland can be a good idea?
While we appear to have won the initial battle, it is critical that we continue our pressure on the government in order to ensure that we help shape policy rather than simply reacting to it.
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We must keep our vigilance if we are to keep our woodland and protect some of our most iconic landscapes here in Kent.
Jamie Weir, CPRE Protect Kent, Ashford
Hearts and minds
I, like Dr Rodney Pell, am of the older generation and also from a military family and while in no way denigrating the individual bravery of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and make the ultimate sacrifice, would wish to redress the balance of Dr Pell’s comments (February Kent Life, page 10).
Firstly I suspect, like me, that Dr Pell is of an age to have been the beneficiary of grant aided ‘free’ higher education but perhaps has not seen three of his children leave university and law school with debts in tens of thousands of pounds, even with our parental support. They have worked hard, gained good degrees and like their many contemporaries, seek a reasonable job, a place of their own and the ability if they wish to have a family.
As for our disastrous overseas military adventures, perhaps it is time for the likes of Dr Pell to realise that occupying foreign countries is not the way to win hearts and minds. If students and others who protested in the Million March against the war in Iraq had been listened to we would not be in the mess we are in now and our young soldiers, sailors and airmen would not need to be maimed, killed and left with lifelong mental health issues.
Listen to those who seek good outcomes in more peaceful ways.
Joe Whittaker, NW Kent
Until four years ago I had lived in Kent for all but three years of my life, we moved to Lancashire for family reasons but are hoping to move back to Kent as soon as possible.
The road I have written about is my favourite place in Kent. I used to drive down it when taking my boys to Graveney Primary School and every day we saw something new, it never became boring and it is a road I miss on a daily basis; it truly does offer everything Kent has and is, and we can’t wait to be home in Kent.
Faversham Road from Seasalter to Graveney is an amazing drive, no matter what time of day or time of year you drive along it. On the left hand side you have fields, and on the right is the coast with the oyster barges anchored just offshore. This three-mile stretch of road gives you everything Kent has to offer: new life, crops and fruit, the coast, which brings the holiday makers and an array of birds, from oyster catchers to grebes and majestic swans.
There are hares in the fields and hedgehogs. The sun is hot, the sunsets are amazing and the hops growing in one field will make the beer for the Sportsman Pub. Fruit and crops that will be enjoyed by so many around the country.
Kim Rafferty, Leigh, Lancashire
Ed’s note: Many thanks for sharing your favourite place in Kent and we look forward to welcoming you back very soon! If other readers have favourite places or drives they’d like to share, please email: email@example.com.
I’m contacting you from the Reel History of Britain team at BBC Manchester – the show will be hosted by Melvyn Bragg and will air on BBC2 in the Autumn.
We are keen to encourage readers of Kent Life to come forward and contribute to our programme.
The Reel History of Britain is a 20-part series for BBC2. The programme will focus on different aspects of British life in the 20th century, told through the rare and unseen film archive of the British Film Institute and regional film archives.
Each episode will focus on a different aspect of social history and will be filmed at a different location. We will be asking people with memories and stories to come along and watch our historical film footage and share their stories. We are filming at the Museum of Kent life on 21 April.
Our programmes cover a variety of historical themes such as evacuation in the 1940s, UK seaside holidays in the 1950s and in one episode we are looking at the changes agriculture went through in the 1930s and would be very keen for anyone with great stories about this to come forward.
We are using a fantastic film called Opping, which shows large numbers of people who went hop picking to Kent from Bermondsey. We would like great stories about farming and agriculture during the 1930s.
We aren’t expecting people to have vast knowledge on their subjects, just short stories which will contribute to the overall picture. It is important to mention that these memories do not have to be first hand, passed-down memories are just as good.
Gordon Hart, Reel History of Britain,
Ed’s note: I am sure many readers will have family memories they would like to share of hop picking in Kent. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward all your responses to the BBC.
Your letters and feedback are warmly welcomed at Kent Life, however, we reserve the right to edit if necessary. Please email: email@example.com