Tirpentwys Quarry access road

(Photo: J Corey/WTML)

Just under two hectares of ancient woodland is under threat of being lost from a quarry access road near Pontypool in Torfaen. Back in 2016, over 3,000 Trust supporters helped us convince council planners to refuse this road building plan. Now this application is back and an appeal has been lodged.

The applicant, Peakman Ltd, is proposing to construct a 1km access road through a large ancient woodland complex known as Craig Major/Craig Sion Siencyn that runs parallel to the A472.

A 20m corridor through this woodland would see a substantial amount of woodland vegetation and soils being cleared resulting in a loss of 1.8 hectares of irreplaceable ancient woodland.

These woods are designated as Restored Ancient Woodland Sites on Natural Resources Wales’ Ancient Woodland Inventory. This means they had previously been planted with non-native trees but have now been restored to a mixed deciduous composition.

While we accept that this new road may offer access to the proposed quarry, ancient woodland is never an appropriate place for any form of development. The Welsh Government’s Planning Policy Wales makes this very clear by stating, in paragraph 5.2.9:

'Ancient and semi-natural woodlands are irreplaceable habitats of high biodiversity value which should be protected from development that would result in significant damage.'

If you would like to read these proposals in more detail, you can do so here. We will be submitting a strong objection. The applicant must re-think the proposals and come back with an option that avoids any damage or loss to ancient woodland.

Cases involving woods and trees under threat can change and evolve during the planning process due to a wide variety of reasons. Where a development involving ancient woods or veteran trees no longer remains a threat due to changing circumstance surrounding said application and based upon professional judgement steered by our conservation research, the Woodland Trust withholds the right to withdraw or amend its objection and review its approach.

The Woodland Trust is not a statutory body. As a charity, we provide all information in good faith, funded by public donations. If you want to help improve protection for woods and trees, please consider supporting us via a simple donation or by becoming a member.

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