Campaigns update: the Crossford Sycamore tree and reasons to celebrate

This month has seen a cherished local ancient tree under threat and several fantastic wins to celebrate. The campaigns team works tirelessly every day to protect ancient woods and trees like these that are under threat from development.

Raithwaite Plantation has been saved. (Photo: WTML)
Raithwaite Plantation has been saved. (Photo: WTML)

Raithwaite plans rejected

Hot off the press! We’re thrilled to announce that ancient woodland at Raithwaite Plantation is safe from destruction. Earlier this year we challenged proposals to build holiday lodges within this ancient woodland (parts of which are also Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites) near Whitby. Over 2,000 of our supporters also objected to these proposals as part of our public campaign.

We had expected the worst, following a recommendation from the case officer that the application should be granted. But to our surprise and joy, the plans were rejected by Scarborough Borough Council by 12 votes to 3, who felt they simply could not approve an application with such high opposition. A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to get involved – you’ve helped us make a real difference for this special woodland.

Long Wood faces devastation 

‘Devastation’ may seem an extreme word to describe plans to build luxurious glamping pods. But few other words come to mind when considering plans for glamping pods that will invade an entire ancient woodland, leaving it little more than a glorified caravan park. The planning application proposes this build in a beautiful ancient wood known as Long Wood in Heacham, Norfolk.

Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable unique habitat that has developed over centuries. These woods are havens for wildlife and for anyone who enjoys these serene places. Once pods are constructed throughout the wood and trees are felled, the integrity of this haven will be lost forever. The construction and ongoing use of the wood by holiday makers will disturb breeding birds, cause vegetation and fire damage, and result in litter, noise and light pollution.

We’re concerned to see a total lack of recognition of the ancient status of Long Wood and the significance of the site as an important habitat by the applicant. The woodland is also designated as Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS). The whole site is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which shows the public value this wood. We have sent in an objection.

ATI The Crossford Sycamore tree, a veteran that’s under threat from housing.
ATI The Crossford Sycamore tree, a veteran that’s under threat from housing.

The Crossford Sycamore

The Crossford Sycamore, a well known tree in Fife we succeeded in protecting back in 2015, is under threat once again. This impressive veteran is listed on the Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI).

Proposals have been submitted to build a house and garage in close proximity to this special tree. It’s so special because it is classified as ‘veteran’. Veteran trees have usually reached the mature stage of their life and will be showcasing important characteristics such as hollowing, decay, fungi, holes and large dead branches. The term generally refers to old trees, however it can also include younger, middle aged trees that are showing signs of premature aging.

If the plans go ahead the tree could suffer irreversible damage and possibly early death. This is unacceptable, as veteran trees offer so much in terms of biodiversity and human wellbeing. We have sent in an objection.

A win for Wanderwrang Wood and Lodge Hill

It appears good news comes in threes!

Wanderwrang Wood near Dunblane in Scotland has been saved! It faced destruction from proposals to build 129 houses in the area. As well as direct loss to this irreplaceable habitat, the plans could have resulted in damage from human recreation, noise and light pollution, and habitat fragmentation. We sent in a strong objection to the plans so we are delighted that the Scottish government has taken heed and opted to save this precious woodland.

Last week the RSPB announced that an application to build 5,000 houses at Lodge Hill in Kent has been withdrawn. Lodge Hill is arguably one of the biggest cases of biodiversity under threat from development in recent years. Several conservation NGOs have been involved such as Buglife, Kent Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation. We also had concerns as the proposals would have impacted five ancient woods. But most of the fight, led by the RSPB, was about protecting the most important habitat in the UK for the declining nightingale. It’s brilliant to hear that this precious habitat has been saved.

How you can help

We’re not just fighting these everyday cases, we fight the big ones too. High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) plans currently threaten 98 ancient woods and we’re doing all we can to eliminate that number. A consultation is seeking your thoughts on plans for Phase 2a of the route, which will affect 17 ancient woods and 27 ancient trees. Help our fight to protect them.

Ask HS2 Ltd to protect ancient woods and trees on route Phase 2a

Take action