Gone forever – for the sake of three minutes

Cymraeg isod

One of the world’s rarest organisms is losing its home, veteran trees that provide a habitat for the ‘lemon tart’ lichen – found on only around 200 trees world-wide – are being felled right now, in order to cut three minutes from journey times on the A470.

Image WTPL, click to enlarge

A tree which is home to the rare Lemon Tart Lichen is marked for felling

The works recently commenced – to build a completely new  stretch of the A470 between Cwmbach and Newbridge on Wye, Powys – are estimated to reduce journey times by around 3 minutes. Anyone who has driven the length of the A470 will realise how insignificant this ‘saving’ is. 

The Planning Inspector and the Transport and Infrastructure Directorate have completely disregarded the Welsh Assembly Government’s own planning policy, and as a result, a completely new road is being cut through particularly important and irreplaceable ancient pasture woodland.

Image WTPL, click to enlarge

Trees along the route of the road have their branches systematically removed in a process known as "crippling"

The heavy equipment was rushed on to the site and the trees relieved of their branches ahead of 1st March, the official start of the bird nesting season.  It is now too late to save this important habitat, but we, together with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) and Plantlife are determined that important lessons must be learned from this case.  Route corridors for new road developments should not be decided until a comprehensive ecological survey has been carried out.

Lessons must be learned from the tragic loss of this precious landscape and the very special ecological features within it.  We would encourage the Welsh Assembly Government to consider its approach in this case and ensure that similar mistakes are not made in future.  We would also encourage landowners to give early access to their land for ecological surveys, which could better inform the environmental case in future.  Keeping the conservationists out will not stop a development.

 Wedi diflannu am byth, ar gyfer tair munud       

Mae un o’r organebau mwyaf brin y byd yn colli ei gartref, mae coed hen law sef  cynefin i gen “lemon tart” sydd yn byw ar o gwmpas 200 o goed yn y byd yn cael ei thorri i lawr rŵan, er mwyn wella’r A470 i dorri tair munud oddi wrth amserau taith. 

Mae’r gwaith sydd newydd ddechrau i adeiladu rhan newydd o’r A470 rhwng Cwmbach a Pontnewydd ar Wy, Powys, yn amcangyfrif y bydd y ffordd newydd yn byrhau amseroedd taith yr A470 gan ryw 3 munud – mae unrhyw un sydd wedi teithio’r A470 yn gwybod pa mor ddi-nod ydy hynny. 

Mae’r Arolygwr Cynllunio a’r Cyfarwyddith Seilwaith Trafnidiaeth wedi  anwybyddu polisi Llywodraeth y Cynulliad ei hun, ac fel canlyniad, mae ffordd hollol newydd yn cael ei thorri trwy dirwedd hynod o bwysig sydd yn nodweddiadol am goetir porfa hynafol unigryw.

Rhuthrodd offer cryf i’r safle a thorri canghennau oddi wrth y coed cyn 1 Mawrth, sef dechrau’r tymor nythu adar.  Mae rŵan yn rhy hwyr i achub y cynefin pwysig hwn, ond rydym, gydag Ymgyrch Diogelu Cymru Wledig (YDCW) a Plantlife Cymru yn benderfynol bod gwersi pwysig yn cael eu dysgu o’r achos yma.  Ni ddylu llwybrau cynlluniau ffyrdd newydd gael ei dewis, nes bod  arolwg ecolegol cyfan wedi cael ei chwblhau

Mae rhaid dysgu gwersi o’r coll trasig y dirwedd werthfawr hon, a’r agweddau ecolegol ofnadwy o bwysig ynddi.  Rydym yn annog Llywodraeth y Cynulliad i feddwl am ei  ymdriniaeth o’r mater yma ac i sicrhau bod camgymeriadau tebyg ddim yn ailddigwydd yn y dyfodol.  Rydym hefyd yn annog  tirfeddianwyr i roi mynediad cynnar at ei thir ar gyfer ymchwiliadau ecolegol, fedraf helpu creu’r achos amgylcheddol yn y dyfodol. Ni fydd cadw’r  cadwraethwyr allan un atal datblygiad.  Gallaf ddod o hyd i nodweddion sydd yn methu eu hail creu.

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13 Responses to Gone forever – for the sake of three minutes

  1. Jill Butler says:

    One way that it could be done is via reducing the thresholds for felling licences. Currently it is possible to fell approximately three mature trees per quarter without a felling licence. However to change the thresholds may require primary legislation and changes to the Forestry Act so we have to wait for a suitable opportunity.

  2. MrFlinty says:

    Hi Jane, one of the Woodland Trust’s other campaigns the Ancient Tree Hunt, is attempting to measure and record all veteran and ancient trees across the UK so they can change policy and secure their future. Log onto http://www.ancienttreehunt.org.uk and http://www.ancienttreeforum.org.uk – both fight for exactly this type of thing. They are always looking for help and ideas.

  3. Jane D says:

    Can we not campaign for automatic protection for trees with a girth greater than a specified measurement? Such trees should only be lopped or felled with specific permission – that is, they are subject to tree preservation orders by default (assuming TPOs have any real effect)? Apologies if this has already been discussed, I’m not up to date with developments.

  4. Tracy May says:

    Sadly it’s all too common a story – I watched with horror as an ancient Walnut tree on the farm where I was living was demolished before my eyes – and what for? So the lorries could have access to a field to dump rubbish. They poured petrol over the felled tree and burned it. Such contempt for a beautiful ancient tree, such utter disregard for beauty and life. I don’t live there now but the farmers are still felling a lot of trees. How do they get away with it?

  5. mary reeve says:

    I agree with Jeff Sheriff that it is disappointing but not surprising.
    I live in and own a small amount of woodland only 2.5acres, which is in a SSSI area. my contribution to the planet is that I put up with the remoteness and cost of living here in order to preserve the beauty and wildlife in this tiny area. My wildflowers and butterflies are a joy to live amongst, how I wish others would desert city living in order to enjoy such riches.

  6. Jeff Sheriff says:

    Disappointing, but not surprising. Those in authority often care little about such things. New runways/roads/houses/retail-parks are deemed more important than our amazing planet. When I grew up in the 40/50s there where no ‘official’ SSSIs,but they were everywhere! Abundant flora & fauna. Newts(now treasured),thousands of acres of woods(now housing estates), butterflies etc etc.

  7. Barry Jacobs says:

    Disgraceful do people not realise how important these Ancient trees are

  8. Val Theroux says:

    I am deeply saddened each time I hear of the loss of a member of the ancient woodland. The world is fast losing all its tree “elders” and their legacy for generations to come. For myself, I travel from Canada most years specifically to visit your ancient woodlands and they are such an important part of my life that I felt compelled to join your discussion. It appears that there has been a limit to the discussion before trees are descimated. Surely even in our instant world, three minutes should not warrant the loss of our natural environment such as this.

  9. Jane D says:

    Horrifying, but not surprising in view of the way the council fells trees alongside roads, and how Powys Farm Estates apparently supports the felling of mature oaks on its land. People in authority appear to place no value on the Welsh landscape.

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  11. g88keeper says:

    Are they oak trees?

  12. Keith W says:

    It is frightening how we are losing such things so fast.

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