Woodland Trust rails against decimation of ancient woodland

Huge tracts of ancient woodland - totalling the size of Birmingham - are being obliterated to make way for roads and buildings, say experts.

Woodland Trust said 100 square miles, 26,000ha, of old woods in the UK had come under threat of destruction in only 10 years.

The charity’s findings followed a 12-month study, which fingered several culprits: builders of roads and houses, airports, golf courses and utilities.

In the past decade 800 woods had been threatened, amounting to 5% of the total amount of ancient woodland remaining in the UK.

Ed Pomfret, a Woodland Trust campaigner, said: Half of the ancient woodland that existed in 1930 has been lost. Ancient woodland is the UK’s equivalent of rainforest.

And it is irreplaceable, having been wooded for over 400 years. It’s up to the public to put a stop to this destruction; we can’t rely on any official body to help us.

That was why the Woodland Trust was launching WoodWatch as the eyes and ears for trees, he said, urging locals to save their threatened woodlands.

In theory, the sites were protected by national policy, but loopholes allowed developers to override rules if they could prove an economic need.

If these woods were buildings they would be protected to the highest grading. But natural heritage is not afforded the same importance.

Visit: www.woodwatch.org.uk

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