Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has suggested that Ancient Woodland can become acceptable building land if new saplings are planted to offset the trees lost. Owen is just the latest member of this out of touch Government to attempt to free up planning law and allow the theft of our woodlands for unsustainable development.
Surely only a keen nature denier working solely in the interests of unscrupulous developers and landowners could ever suggest such a moronic notion.
Firstly to suggest that planting new saplings can replace entire woodland habitats with roots stretching back hundreds or even thousands of years is either ignorant or wilfully misleading.
Secondly, if there is a space to plant hundreds of new trees to offset the loss of an incredibly valuable, scarce and diminishing environment, then why on Earth not build on that site instead. Are we not meant to see the criminal stupidity of Owen Paterson's proposal?
Even in the Government's own Consultation that ended last November it was acknowledged that
ancient woodland would be "impossible to recreate on a meaningful timetable".
Showing his apparent ignorance, Mr Paterson claimed w
The Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons said recently the plans outlined by the government must be strengthened if they were to "properly protect Britain's wildlife".
The MPs said an assessment proposed by the government appeared to be "little more than a 20-minute box-ticking exercise that is simply not adequate to assess a site's year-round biodiversity".
The Woodland Trust has campaigned against the inclusion of ancient woodlands in any offsetting scheme and it rejects the suggestion that the future of these habitats should rest on the proposed economic benefit of a given development.
The future of Thorpe Woodlands still hangs in the balance while we await Broadland District Council's decision on the Growth Area Action Plan early this year.
It appears that this new year as before, those with influence and keen on grabbing a quick quid at the expense of our environment are an ill wind still blowing very strongly.
Keep watching the blog for further news.
Link to Guardian article
Link to Article in The Express