Inquiry live – day one

Fresh from the public inquiry, our Katy updates us on what’s been happening so far. You can also see ITV coverage of the story from yesterday.

Oaken-Wood“Tuesday was the first day of the Oaken Wood Public Inquiry, where the Woodland Trust will be fighting to save over 30 hectares of ancient woodland from planning permission for a Quarry. 

The team arrived at Oakwood House where the Inquiry is being held over three and a half weeks. We were all called to order at 10am by the Planning Inspector who started by explaining who was to be present to give evidence over the coming weeks. 

Image: WTPL/N.Williams

The Woodland Trust team at the table

The applicant, Gallagher, are to have seven witnesses who will be giving evidence on a variety of topics ranging from Operational Matters to Ecology and Nature Conservation.  Kent County Council is to provide one witness, who is their Principal Planning Officer. 

We are to be providing five witnesses to give evidence on behalf of the Trust regarding the Ragstone and Hassock on site, Policy, Landscape Assessment, Soil and last but not least the Ancient Woodland status of Oaken Wood.  Kent Wildlife Trust will also be providing one witness regarding the biodiversity of Oaken Wood. 

A timetable for the next three weeks was also set this morning where we worked together to agree what witnesses will be called when and how long each witness may be in the stand.  

Opening statements were read by the four parties clearly outlining their positions in the case. 

During the afternoon we had the first two Gallagher witnesses who covered Operational Matters and Geology and Reserve Assessment.  It was a very productive afternoon with us being able to cover all points that we wished to raise.  The Planning Inspectorate also queried several interesting points which Gallagher will be addressing and responding to in the next few days. 

Today (Wednesday) we hope it will be just as productive as we are scheduled to cover Arboriculture and Archaeology.”

Katharine Rist, Campaigner – Ancient Woodland

About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Climate Change, Protection, WoodWatch and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Inquiry live – day one

  1. Pingback: Oaken Wood public inquiry | Woodland Matters

  2. Paul Astbury says:

    I am concerned that the Oaken Wood planning proposal is not an approriate battle for the Woodland Trust to fight. Sweet chestnut is not a native species and the demand for its timber is minimal now with the demise of hop growing and the minority use of chestnut for fencing. I note the large areas of ‘derelict’ chestnut coppice in the southeast as a consequence of the reduced demand.

    • Kaye Brennan says:

      Paul, this is exactly the battle we need to fight and the kind we could probably fight all day long – right now threats to woods and trees feel relentless. Oaken Wood is an important test case which not only further reaffirms our commitment to ‘no further loss of ancient woodland’ but crucially could set a precedent for the way planning applications for mineral extraction which impact on Ancient Woodland are decided upon in future. Planning policy has recently changed and is now untested in this particular area. Our objection is based on what we and many others see as the needless destruction of 32ha of this habitat – which is one of the biggest potential losses from a woods under threat case that we have seen in recent years. The unique formation of ancient woodland makes it as a habitat completely irreplaceable. Win or lose, as one of the first tests of new national planning policy under the NPPF it was definitely one to take all the way to Inquiry.

Sorry, comments are closed as we have moved to a new site: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s