Protect our woods

Worcester News: FAMILY FUN: Jasmine Dredge, aged nine, Dafydd Rees, three, and Alex Dredge, seven, enjoy a walk in a wood filled with bluebells. FAMILY FUN: Jasmine Dredge, aged nine, Dafydd Rees, three, and Alex Dredge, seven, enjoy a walk in a wood filled with bluebells.

THE Woodland Trust has sent out a rallying cry to help protect the county’s woods. In the face of proposed Government legislation, the trust wants to know of any woodland under threat from loss or encroachment.

Nearly a dozen county woods have been affected in recent years and there are fears the situation could worsen under new guidelines to be issued to local authorities.

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will set out guidance for local authorities across England and be used as a basis for writing local and neighbourhood plans and making development decisions.

“In its current draft form, the NPPF contains a loophole that threatens the very existence of ancient woodland.”

Eleven ancient woods in Worcestershire have come under threat from development in the last 10 years. Battens Wood, near Pershore, was saved from a leisure development but three have been lost and one partially lost, and six woods remain threatened by a variety of planning applications.

The trust says there are ongoing threats to Farmbank Plantation and Wassage Coppice near Droitwich, which are subject to an application to extend utilities into the wood and Little Goosehill Wood near Himbleton, which has four applications against different parts of it to extend farm buildings that could cause significant loss and damage. Part of little Goosehill Wood has already been lost.

An application affecting Boreley Wood near Ombersley was passed which caused “significant damage” to the wood in 2007 and an application of a commercial/ industrial nature was passed “causing loss” to Warndon Wood in Worcester in 2009. Narrow Wood near Wadborough also suffered partial loss and damage in 2009.

The trust is encouraging people to contact it if they know of a wood under threat. It keeps a record of all known threats to ancient woodland and offers guidance to people concerned about woods and trees in their area. Visit woodlandtrust.

org.uk/woodwatch for information.

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