The plans don’t pose an immediate threat as no development plans are currently on the table. No government policy backs expansion either. But if any new runway proposals were to progress through planning in future, it would likely be considered a National Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The NSIP process emphasises public engagement and this consultation could form part of Gatwick’s evidence.
The consultation period has now ended and we're awaiting the results. You can still tell Gatwick that the ancient woodland surrounding the airport should never be built on and definitely not reserved for a possible future runway - tweet your views to @Gatwick_Airport.
Holiday site plans put on hold
Elsewhere, two ancient woods are facing direct loss from glamping pod proposals: Newent Woods in the Forest of Dean, and Longwood, Norfolk. Both plans have previously been rejected due to their impact on ancient woodland. Longwood was originally submitted before the revised NPPF was published, so we’re hopeful these proposals will be rejected once and for all. That’s just what happened to plans for holiday lodges in Taynuilt, Scotland. They were rejected recently on the grounds of their impact on ancient woodland – a resounding success!
Policy disappointment in Wales
After the big win on planning policy in England last year, things didn’t go so well in Wales. The Planning Policy Wales Edition 10 (PPW10) published at the end of the year didn’t match the NPPF wording of ancient woodland loss only in ‘wholly exceptional reasons of national significance’. The PPW10 wording states ‘unless there are significant and clearly defined public benefits’. This means the concept of necessary loss of ancient woodland remains built in to planning policy.
Also in Wales, our M4 campaign continues after the vote on plans for a relief road has been postponed. The route will destroy more precious ancient woodland, so we will keep piling on the pressure until the decision is made. Add your voice to the M4 campaign by writing to Assembly Members.
How you can help in 2019
We’re sure to face more challenges this year, but we’ll celebrate our successes too. You can help in lots of ways - keep your eyes peeled for threats in your area, add your voice to our campaigns and share our vital message: we can’t afford to lose our valuable ancient woodland.