Can you believe it’s already the end of week two? Back at HQ this week has flown by, but it’s been business as usual for ‘Team Oaken’ – here’s our Katy with your final update for this week:
“Yesterday (Thursday) our last two witnesses took to the stand to give evidence for the Woodland Trust. The witnesses were covering landscape assessment and the principle of ancient woodland and ancient woodland policy.
In the morning it was landscape assessment. Topics covered included the baseline for the landscape assessment of the site, woodland management including coppicing and also the language used in the proof of evidence. The Inspector then asked several questions, one regarding the impact on landscape character which led onto a discussion regarding the landscape as a resource.
In the afternoon our final witness covered ancient woodland principles and ancient woodland policy. Themes covered included the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), local policy, Natural England’s Standing Advice (May 2012) and translocation to name but a few. One interesting question the planning inspector asked was regarding naturalisation of Sweet Chestnut coppice which had previously been mentioned last week.
Today (Friday) a site visit took place which we attended along with representatives from Gallagher and the Inspector. The aim of this site visit was to get views of the quarry site from a long distance. Unfortunately the visit was called off at the first point, it’s been raining down in Kent and sadly nothing could be seen because of the weather.
I have found that this week has gone incredibly quickly. Looking back it’s hard to believe the number of different areas that have been covered and that – just like last week – we have heard evidence from 7 witnesses.
Now that all main parties have given their evidence it is time for third party representations. Local residents and other local organisations that want to have the Inspector hear their view have been invited to speak next Friday (14th). We should probably expect a media presence on Friday from the TV channels and newspapers which have been following proceedings so far.
Next week will also include several further site visits; for example on Tuesday (11th December) I believe that local historical buildings are to be visited. Next Wednesday the Inspector will be given the chance to experience a blast from the quarry [not too close we hope! Ed]. Thursday will be the Rights of Way section of the Inquiry in the morning and in the afternoon we will discuss planning conditions in the event that Gallagher is successful so that they are prepared if the case is granted permission.
We will keep you posted!”
Katharine Rist, Campaigner – Ancient woodland
Keep in touch with the final few days of this Inquiry by ‘following’ Woodland Matters and watching this link.