More news from Day Two:
“Day two of the inquiry covered a further two witnesses for Gallagher; giving evidence on arboriculture and archaeology.
The morning was spent listening to the evidence from the Arboricultural witness. During this session various topics were covered. These subjects included the value of Sweet Chestnut, Landscape Assessment with regards to arboriculture and many other matters. The Planning Inspector asked many probing questions. One question I found fascinating was regarding whether Sweet Chestnut could be classed as an Honorary Native due to the length of time it has been present in the country.
In the afternoon there was a great deal of intellectual debate regarding Oaken Wood, Cattering Wood and Blaise Wood (at Blaise Quarry). There was a very high level debate regarding the soil horizons within the woods and the pollen and seed composition of those soils. I personally felt that some of this evidence seemed quite inconclusive – we will see.
Also covered was historical mapping of Oaken Wood as well as various other matters such as archaeological features on site. The historical mapping was for me one of the most interesting elements of this witness’s evidence. So frequently the Woodland Trust provides advice on how to identify ancient woodland through mapping history. It was great to see a map from 1596 that had so much detail and clearly showed Oaken Wood; then called East Malling Wood.
Throughout the day both witnesses did agree with our barrister that the site is ancient woodland, specifically PAWS.
Tomorrow we will be covering the ecology of Oaken Wood. Barring any problems and if we keep to schedule we will move onto the socio-economic case for the quarry in the afternoon.
We will keep you posted!”
Katharine Rist, Campaigner – Ancient Woodland