Cheshire East

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Park authority obtains injunction after 12 oak trees felled in protected conservation area

The New Forest National Park Authority last month obtained a High Court injunction to prevent further damage to an area of protected woodland in the National Park.

The injunction was sought after 12 oak trees were illegally felled on land south of the A336 at Bartley, which is in a protected conservation area.

The site, between the junctions with Eadens Lane and Tatchbury Lane, has a long-standing tree preservation order (TPO) and is classified as a priority habitat of broadleaved deciduous woodland. Badgers, hedgehogs, at least six types of bat, and more than 25 protected bird species are found in the area.

According to the park authority, the unauthorised tree felling took place in early December, leaving large fractures and splits in the remaining tree trunks. Several other oaks had been marked with an ‘X’, suggesting that they were also going to be chopped down, it said.

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“It appears likely that the trees were felled to provide access to adjoining land within ‘Terry’s Patch’, which includes a larger open field. The NPA recently raised concerns about this land being divided into separate plots with different ownership, issuing an immediate Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights to put up fencing. This Direction, which has not yet been confirmed by the NPA’s Planning Committee, was intended to ensure the boundaries between plots were sympathetic to this important New Forest conservation area by requiring express planning consent for fencing,” the park authority said.

It reported that signage on site about the Article 4 Direction was removed three times, each time being replaced by the NPA. Building materials and equipment were also brought onto the woodland.

Leo Randall, Chairman of the New Forest National Park’s Planning Committee, said: “The special landscape of the National Park has the highest level of protection, and this High Court injunction illustrates that, where appropriate, we will take decisive measures in respect of any threats to the landscape.

“Our broadleaved habitats have been identified as being the most threatened, requiring urgent conservation measures under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

“The developers in this case ignored or were unaware of the Tree Preservation Order in place. Unless restrained by an injunction order they could well have caused further significant irreversible environmental damage to the New Forest.”

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