A21 Inquiry: “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”

As part of the public inquiry into the A21 widening scheme, we are giving evidence on behalf of the ancient woodland at risk, and also cross-examining the Highways Agency’s witnesses.

** Latest: ITV Meridian 4:30pm news (Tuesday 14th May) **

Our Richard is in Kent for the Inquiry – over to you Richard for the first day’s update:  

“Today (Tuesday 14th May) I attended the opening day of the A21 Public Inquiry, feeling buoyed up by the comments to my first blog and the lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.  

The proposed scheme would entail the loss of 9 ha of ancient woodland, to which we object in principle.  Our aim is to get proper recognition of the loss of ancient woodland, and remind the Inspector this cannot be addressed by “mitigation”, or the low level of compensation suggested. 

Media interest has been high, with my colleague Oliver featuring in last week’s local coverage by BBC and ITV, and I was interviewed twice as I walked into the venue for the Inquiry. 

Richard being interviewed by Meridian

Richard being interviewed by Meridian

Watch Oliver on BBC News South East

Watch Oliver’s interview on the BBC

Today the Highways Agency presented evidence on the overview of the scheme, and engineering issues.  The overview included recording the number of objections, and this noted the surge of emails from WT supporters, with 831 new objections registered by this morning!  These will add real weight to the evidence that I’ll be presenting on Friday 24th May. 

After cross examining today, I will be back in action again this Friday (17th), tackling the ecological and planning evidence submitted by the Highways Agency, and of course posting an update in Woodland Matters

Richard Barnes, Senior Conservation Adviser

Follow the Inquiry’s progress throughout the next few days.

About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Conservation, Roads, Woods Under Threat and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A21 Inquiry: “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”

  1. Ash says:

    I agree with above comments from Pete & Peter and add that it is not just heritage that would be lost but our moral conduct.

  2. Peter Kyte says:

    Win or lose, the key issue is to keep challenging any development that threatens ancient woodlands, so that the public and authorities begin to realise how important these woodlands are. Once lost, they have gone forever.

    • Richard Barnes says:

      Good points Peter. There’s plenty of policy support for keeping ancient woodland, but much less legal or planning protection…

  3. Best of luck with this – you’re fighting for our heritage.

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