Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ancient woodlands under threat from new planning laws

Ancient woodlands under threat from new planning laws, campaigners warnWoodland Trust says more than 100 woods have been lost in 10 years, and more could be threatened under reforms

Campaigners said they feared a 'relentless focus on growth' in new planning laws would leave irreplaceable woodlands unprotected.
More than 200 ancient woodlands are currently under threat from development, and many more could be at risk without changes to the proposed planning reforms, campaigners are warning.

The Woodland Trust said 630 ancient woods had been threatened by development such as quarries and roads in the past decade, with 111 sites lost in 10 years due to weaknesses in planning policy, and 225 still under threat.

New maps from the trust show dozens of woodlands dating back more than 400 years at risk around London, with others threatened from Cornwall to northern England.
The final version of a major overhaul of the planning rules, which the government insists is needed to boost economic growth but has also provoked fears among campaigners of inappropriate development and urban sprawl, is expected shortly.

Before its publication, the Woodland Trust issued a last-ditch plea to ministers to close what they say is a loophole in the proposed planning framework, which focuses on "sustainable development", to prevent more ancient woods being at risk.

Read more on this article from the guardian