Locals were stunned when diggers flattened their local woods without warning and the owners have now appealed against having to replant the site.
In early January this year an avenue of naturally regrown woodland along disused railway sidings at Toton, Nottinghamshire, was removed by contractors on behalf of the new owners of the site.
Earth-moving equipment demolished the trees and flattened this area in one day in a move which shocked local residents, many of whom visited regularly. The woodland, which had been allowed to thrive on the old trackbeds, was rich in wildlife and well-used by dog-walkers and nature-lovers as well as the local running club.
Speculation was that there were plans to extract ballast and low-grade coal from the site, probably left by the previous owners, British Rail, and then use the site for housing. After a barrage of complaints to the Forestry Commission (FC), the FC agreed that the felling was illegal as the action contravened the provisions of the Forestry Act 1967 (as amended). The owners were duly served with a notice requiring them to plant a minimum of 2,200 silver birch trees on the site and maintain them for a period of 10 years. The owners must comply with this notice or be faced with a large fine.
With only 3 days left for the owners to formally challenge this decision, an appeal against the notice has now been lodged. As soon as the grounds of appeal are made clear the public is invited to submit an email or letter of support for the restocking notice to be upheld. Find out more – and how you can help – here.