National park authority objects to conifer planting plans

Northumberland National Park Authority has objected to a bid by a landowner to create a largely conifer plantation within the national park and the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site corridor.

Image: Flickr/Quisnovus
Image: Flickr/Quisnovus

The authority claimed that the proposed 43-hectare development at Wallshield Farm near Haltwhistle would be "wholly inappropriate for this highly sensitive landscape location".

It also cited "lack of evidence on which to assess the full archaeological implications" of the scheme; its impact on ground nesting bird sites, and potential loss of public access.

Currently 82 per cent of woodland within the park consists of conifer plantations. In all, woodland covers 22 per cent of the park's 1,030 sq km. The authority has committed to increasing native broadleaf woodland in the park over the next 35 years.

The authority's chairman John Riddle said: "Commercial forestry is an important part of the rural economy in many parts of the park, but it is a fine balancing act when it comes to ensuring that new forestry proposals are not detrimental to the upland moorland landscape, wildlife and special qualities of the national park that residents and visitors cherish."

The National Park Authority also said that it "strongly disagrees" with the Forestry Commission's decision not to require an environmental impact assessment for the Wallshield Farm proposal - a decision the authority is asking the Forestry Commission to review.

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