Ancient woodlands decision is a failure for our history and our future

The decision of the Oldham planning committee to reject the implications of Ancient Woodland status on Knowls Lane in Lees is a blow not just to the protection of this site, but other threatened environments, says Lib Dem campaigner Mark Kenyon.

Ancient Woodland makes up just 2% of woodland in the UK. An earlier decision to grant outline planning permission on the site was taken before the trees had been identified as an Ancient Woodland site. The application to change some of the conditions on the development meant that the Ancient Woodland designation would be considered as part of that application.

Despite the recognition of the importance of Ancient Woodland in a recent Liberal Democrat motion passed by the Council, the majority of Labour councillors approved the application, and ignored the recent classification.

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Mark Kenyon said: “While it hurts to be on the end of a decision like this, it is not just because of this application. Ancient Woodland is a rarity, and we don’t often have the chance to protect it. If the Council has failed to do so here, what is going to happen the next time a decision is made?

Mark Kenyon

“It is one thing to say that Oldham is a green council, but it is another to take decisions which uphold that. This can’t go on, and I’d urge residents not to reward Labour with their vote this May.”

Local councillor Sam Al-Hamdani added: “This is definitely not the end of the story on this. The work of many residents from the Save Our Valleys has kept this issue in the spotlight, and I have done everything I can to support them. As communities and as councillors, we cannot give up on precious environments, and we will be doing everything we can to continue this defence.”

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