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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Ancient woodland under threat

In the last decade, Britain's last few stretches of ancient woods have come under increasing threat. According to the Guardian newspaper, 100 areas of ancient woodland have been damaged or destroyed and another 500 threatened by development. And thanks to a loophole in the revised planning policy framework, that threat can continue unabated.

The policy says that applications to develop ancient woodland should be refused, unless "unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss". That's a genuinely scary clause. It means that it only takes a few local government officials to decide that a new supermarket provides more "benefits" than a stretch of forest to doom that woodland for good. Britain's ancient woods cannot be replaced. They need real protection, not vague promises. Ask the government to revise this startlingly weak policy immediately.

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