While doubling the amount of national parks in his nation, an old American president once said that ‘there can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country’. He wasn’t far wrong.
It was something else he once said though that epitomised the feeling of the near 100 people that packed the Newton Hall on Wednesday night: ‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there.’ Indeed attendees proved hearteningly keen to learn more about what they can do to protect their local ancient woodland from being turned in to a motorway service area.
A panel of experts on wildlife, ecology, politics and the local area all took turns to clearly refute the need for a service area on a site that would concrete over part of an already fragmented wood that records show as being in existence for at least a millennium.
From noise, to increased pollution, to building on the green belt, audience members then took over to express unanimous concern about the impact the constrution would have on their local community and ancient woodland. Not a single person spoke in favour of development.
So while there is still so much more to do in the battle to save Smithy Wood – we are still in the pre-application phase – early signs are encouraging. People care passionately about the Wood and from senior political figures to those that enjoyed it while working next door in the 1960s, all agreed to step up the campaign to save it.
So watch this space for next steps and if you haven’t already, why not join the 2,800 who have already signed our petition to Save Smithy Wood. Remember 20 acres of this precious wood is under threat and with so little ancient woodland left in the UK, we really can’t afford to lose any more!