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The Green Life: Bonfire of the Quangos

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October 25, 2010

Bonfire of the Quangos

IStock_000013232725XSmallWhen it comes to the term "deforestation," many believe the topic is confined to the southern hemisphere, where gargantuan bulldozers rip the guts out of heavily wooded rainforests when another hefty chunk of the Amazon becomes commercial farmland. 

But the focus is soon to shift from thick jungles to the gray skies of budget-cutting Great Britain.  Faced with a significant financial deficit (who isn't?), the nation is considering the notion of cashing in on their state-owned tree collections. 

While surveying their administration for possible cuts, one word kept repeatedly popping out: quango.

The United Kingdom is rife with "quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations," or quangos, and Britain's Forestry Commission is one of them. The umbrella under which the commission resides is called the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, which is being forced to eviscerate itself by 30 percent.  DEFRA is not looking at forestry as the sole quango to cut in what has been called the "bonfire of the quangos."

While there was talk of burning the Forestry Commission altogether, it seems to have survived, though like most of the quangos, its budget is going to see some astronomical subtractions. 

--Justin Klugh

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