Forest Pines appeal about to begin!
We’re still fighting to save Broughton Woods, ancient woodland in Lincolnshire which still faces becoming a golf course. This application threatens to be one of the biggest potential losses of precious ancient woodland that the Trust has come across in recent years – a whopping 82 acres, or 44 football pitches is at risk! Despite the local Council’s decision to reject the plans, this was appealed by the developers and the subsequent legal fight (wasting the Council’s, the community’s and the Trust’s time and resources) begins in earnest this week.
Planning law stipulates that detailed environmental assessments must be conducted on any development that may affect ancient woodland prior to any application being considered by a planning committee. The statement for the development at Forest Pines golf course is inadequate to say the least, and the document provided to the planning committee does not even properly recognise the environmental issues there are here.
Basically, the statement doesn’t fulfil best practise in some areas; lacks a detailed scope of environmental surveys; the environmental mitigation plan is flawed as it assumes that fragmenting an ancient woodland is acceptable; and worse than this (and that last one is pretty bad), it undervalues ancient woodland.
Proposed mitigation tries to compensate for the fragmentation of a habitat which in essence ceases to exist. The conservation value of the woodland would be instantly degraded by this, inevitably causing significant detrimental impacts on the wildlife and plant species within the area.
Ancient woodland is irreplaceable having been continually wooded for over 400 years and is our richest habitat for wildlife, including more rare and threatened species than any other UK habitat. They are places of inordinate beauty, reservoirs of evidence for environmental change, archaeology and economic history, and a source of inspiration for local culture and folklore.
The destruction of this ancient woodland would be a massive loss for the local community. The wood is very well used and is an integral part of the beautiful Lincolnshire landscape. In this area of North Lincolnshire, ancient woodland is already rare – in total it represents a quarter of all the ancient woodland remaining in North Lincolnshire. It is extraordinary to contemplate that a loss, direct and indirect, of this magnitude would be accepted… and for all bigger golf course. This development promises to benefit a few golf fans but it will be a huge loss for an entire community and for local conservation.
Ancient woodland is finite and cannot increase, so what remains is precious and irreplaceable. Help us to fight this case! Support the local campaign and follow us on Twitter LIVE from the appeal all this week at www.twitter.com/woodlandtrust.