Things have been pretty quiet in Wales for us recently – well on the roads front at least. That is until we ‘accidentally’ found out about some improvements to the A470 between Cwm-Bach and Newbridge that are being planned by the Welsh Government.
We were all horrified to discover that not only will ancient woodland be decimated but that the ecologists working on the road had failed to notice a cracking bit of wood pasture too. Wood pasture is a historic habitat system where livestock graze beneath trees grown for timber. This means that trees surviving in wood pasture may well be ancient trees and often give vital clues to the way we used to live.
Here at the Woodland Trust we think that ancient woods and trees should be a priority and their protection guaranteed no matter what. There is an old saying that goes ‘an oak tree grows for 300 years, stays for 300 years and dies for 300 years’. Think about it like this and you realise that we are destroying something that has been in existence for hundreds of years – if this was a piece of furniture or art it would be in a museum.
Clearly removing something that has been in situ for so long is going to have some serious ecological repercussions. Normally when we find out about new road schemes we have several years to develop a campaign and gather evidence build a case against the road. However this one seems to have slipped under the radar and we only found out about it 2 days before the public inquiry into the road scheme was due to start. Under the circumstances we have done the best we can – alerted the local media with a press release and submitted some last minute written evidence as we feel that the importance of the habitats impacted on has been sorely under estimated.
Luckily for us the local conservation NGOs are rallying round with the local Wildlife Trust putting up several witnesses to try and persuade the Inspector that the road is not a good idea environmentally. Although I am not sure what the outcome will be – surprise surprise the road is being pushed by the Welsh Government and the decision maker is the Welsh Government – I’m keeping an optimistic view!
If you’re campaigning to stop a scheme similar to this have a look at our WoodWatch website for hints and tips for your campaign.