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Fears for ancient woods in garden city proposals

PUBLISHED: 09:51 06 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:51 06 October 2014

Worth protecting... our ancient woodland

Worth protecting... our ancient woodland

Archant

Woodland Trust

TWO ancient woods could be threatened by the planned garden city at Ebbsfleet, between Gravesend and Dartford, a conservation group has warned.

The Woodland Trust says the proposals for the 15,000-home development could threaten 14 hectares of ancient woodland and is urging the planned new Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to make its protection a priority.

The consultation on the establishment of the new development corporation ends today Monday (October 6).

The trust says that two ancient woods in the area are earmarked to fall under the control of the corporation and it is keen to highlight the value of this theses sites at an early stage.

Two further ancient woods border the development ‘footprint’ and wording in the consultation document suggests they could also be at risk. It states that the new corporation should have the “power to work outside its boundaries where that is necessary or expedient to its objectives.”

Nikki Williams, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust, said: “It is crucial that any new organisation set up to handle developments such as this is fully aware of the importance of protecting ancient woodland in line with Government policy and that it recognises these areas as an asset, not an obstruction.

“For any garden city to live up to its name, it should not only include generous areas of new green space with woods and trees but should also seek to protect and enhance existing green space.

“The protection of irreplaceable habitats including ancient woodland should be a top priority.”

The trust is highlighting the Government’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement, which says “Protection of our trees, woods and forests, especially our ancient woodland, is our top priority” and reconfirms its commitment to Keepers of Time, in which it stated “the existing area of ancient woodland should be maintained”.

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