in Local Campaigns

by Keith Morgan of Dean Forest Voice

Nagshead Nature Reserve in the Forest of Dean 2006

No sooner has the euphoria of the Governments U-Turn on the proposed Sell-Off of the National Forests died down, when a new threat emerges to the Forest of Dean. Up to 200 acres of woodland and wildlife sites in the Statutory Forest are to be transfered/sold to the Forest of Dean District Council (FoDDC) by the Forestry Commission for current and future industrial and residential development by the FoDDC.

All this will take place under the direction of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), as part of the FoDDC’s Cinderford Area Action Plan. A meeting was convened by Forest of Dean Heritage and Culture Group, Dean Forest Voice, together with various Forest of Dean Protection groups and environmentalist, at the historic Speech House Hotel in the Forest of Dean. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the threat and what joint action could be taken by the groups to fight the proposals. The site has been allocated for development as a ‘brownfield site having had development on it approx 40 years ago. Since then the site has become a wildlife haven, and local environmentalists have recorded in excess of 1000 wildlife species, including rare bats, great crested newts, grass snakes, lizards, butterflies, dormice and orchids. The area is now considered to be one of the most important sites for wildlife in Gloucestershire.

In formulating plans for the ‘regeneration’ of this site the HCA and the Foddc have systematically failed to recognise the significance of the sites ecology. The new spine road that the development includes will require the demolition of buildings which are home to protected rare bats. Much of this demolition has already started in a mad rush to progress before a legal challenge, brought by the Forest of Dean ‘Friends of the Earth’ is heard in May.

So far requests to Eric Pickles MP to call in the Planning Applications has fallen on deaf ears Dean Forest Voice are now seeking to raise the issue nationally, and hopefuly gain the support that they need to stop this wanton destruction of our heritage.


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Earth Ways April 22, 2013 at 09:51

What can we do to help?

Owen Adams April 22, 2013 at 16:14

See – we need observers. We have tried but there are too few of us.

Jennifer April 22, 2013 at 11:39

I cannot tolerate any longer the furthering of sales of wildlife. This is upsetting to me, and millions of others.

Owen Adams April 22, 2013 at 16:13

More info, see … unfortunately we have failed to prevent the start of demolition of our heritage and wildlife habitats using heavy plant machinery, witnesses have seen rare bats flying in daylight, the wildlife police, bat experts and environmentalists have tried to stop the work there, but the government in concert with our council, are very determined to go ahead at all costs. There are also signs up informing us that one area is now private land although we believe it still hasn’t been sold by the Forestry Commission.

sophie c simpson April 26, 2013 at 00:33

We have already cut down sooo much forest in England. Now we need to save what we have left !!!

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