A21: “They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum”

Continuing our updates on the A21 public inquiry, Richard tells us about his day cross-examining witnesses:

Richard at the Inquiry

Richard at the Inquiry

“Day 4 dealt with the evidence presented by the Highways Agency on ecology and nature conservation, and on planning. My aim in cross-examining the witnesses was to establish the full extent of ancient woodland that will be lost, confirm the important differences between ‘mitigation’ and ‘compensation’ for that loss (and the subsequent evaluation of this when looking at the benefits of the scheme), and the value that is attached to ancient woodland.  

I remain concerned that the compensation measures have crept into the balance of need for the scheme (contrary to Natural England advice), and was disappointed to learn that the Highways Agency doesn’t consider that all ancient woodland is automatically of national significance. I feel strongly about this, given that ancient woodland and its importance is mentioned several times in the National Planning Policy Framework, other government national policy documents, and by government representatives speaking in parliament. 

Kent Wildlife Trust and RSPB have maintained their objections in principle to the loss of ancient woodland, while continuing to discuss the mitigation and compensation measures. This mirrors our approach, as recommended by Natural England in its standing advice on ancient woodland in the south-east. It is therefore a mystery, and a disappointment to me, why Natural England didn’t follow its own advice and object to the loss of ancient woodland in principle while continuing the valuable dialogue on species mitigation. 

I’ll be at the Inquiry again next Thursday to listen to supporters and objectors to the road widening, and on Friday 24th to present my own evidence on behalf of the Trust.  Thanks again for the messages of support, and the emails sent to the Highways Agency.”

Richard Barnes, Senior Conservation Adviser

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


About Kaye Brennan

Trying vegan, staying warm. Occasional bursts of words.
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Climate Change, Roads, Woods Under Threat and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A21: “They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum”

  1. Pingback: Outstanding advice now published | Woodland Matters

  2. This is not a great news. Trees should never store in museum. Trees are our best friends. They should stay in nature. It must be ensure for ourselve. For our safty.

  3. Peter Kyte says:

    Keep on trying to present them with inescapable truth, that these woodlands cannot be replaced and that building extra roads do not solve congestion, it just encourages more road use.

  4. It remains a mystery to me why our ancient woodlands appear to have less protection than our historic buildings. In many instances theyare far older, much rarer and far more threatened. Perhaps it has something to do with the way our relationship with the countryside has changed over the centuries. It is very worrting.

    • Edith Crowther says:

      Yes, and you may not be worried by the disappearence of the “Eco Warriors” – but I am. We need Warriors, not people who will enter into a “dialogue” about “mitigation”. There is no mention of “mitigation” in the great international laws on the Environment. Only “preservation” and “enhancement”. So everyone even mentioning “mitigation” is breaking tthe law, big time.

      There is going to be a new international crime soon, Ecocide – but this will only be usable for massive destruction making scars visible from space.

      However, infringement of EU laws on nitrgen dioxide emissions has been made a criminal offience under a 2008 EU Directive, because the original Directives were not being obeyed so the EU has decided to make several things including any failure to DECREASE nitrogen dioxide emissions a criminal offence. We have just seen Client Earth win recognition from the Supreme Court that our Courts can deal with this criminal offence, we don’t have to go to the EU to get things moving.

      The EU Directive on the Protection of the Environment through Criminal law is 2008/99/EC, and here is a link to its website. If you look at the text, the Directives now subject to criminal law are listed at the end, there is more than one on Nitrogen Dioxide.

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