The Forestry Commission’s reply to our letter dated 23 January (see below) seeks to justify the recent tree-felling in the upper part of the Latchmore catchment, before the Environmental Statement has been completed, on the grounds that the work “will not invalidate the findings of the EIA”. Our reply is here, and a supporting map is here.
The Forestry Commission’s proposal for “stream restoration” at Pondhead, near Lyndhurst, was the subject of a Presentment to the Verderers’ Court last week. Two Appendices are here and here. More information about the Pondhead project is here.
A letter to the New Forest National Park Authority from a resident near Lyndhurst is here. It reveals that statements by the Forestry Commission supporting their application for Planning Permission for “restoration” of the stream at Pondhead are incorrect. An 18th-century map of the Pondhead area shows that the present course of the stream is ancient and not, as claimed by the Forestry Commission, the consequence of Victorian straightening. This research demonstrates the inadequacy of the data being used by the HLS Partners to justify “stream restoration” and is relevant for all HLS Wetland Restoration projects throughout the New Forest. Please click here for more information on the Pondhead project.
Burley Parish Council’s concerns about the outcome and costs of a recent stream “restoration” at Harvestslade Bottom have prompted them to send an email and a Freedom of Information request to the Forestry Commission.
We were shocked to see that the Forestry Commission are felling trees in Studley Castle both sides of an upper tributary of Latchmore Brook in an area which is the subject of the pending Environmental Statement for Latchmore. Our letter to Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor, is here and a plan and some photographs are here.
Several members of the public who went to the FC/LUC Exhibition at Hyde on 6 October 2015 raised concerns that the [Latchmore] Brook may return to its current course even if works do take place, given the unpredictability of the watercourse. The response from FC/LUC was: “There is no evidence from the modelling work undertaken as part of the EIA to suggest that this will occur.”
In May 2015 the Forestry Commission brought heavy machinery into the bluebell wood in Broomy Inclosure to carry out a stream “restoration”. All through the bird-nesting season they excavated, and filled in the stream bed with gravel rejects and clay, and inserted bales of heather retained with stakes (see post dated 24 June 2015 and Presentments to the Verderers’ Court on 15 July and 16 September 2015) … job done, stream “restored” …
six months later, the runoff from Amberslade Bottom, which feeds the stream in the Inclosure, is trying to get back to the stream’s original course through the woods (on the left; the Forestry Commission’s “restored” stream is on the right).
Modelling work flawed?
During the summer a local resident carried out a survey of butterflies seen in the vicinity of Latchmore Brook and has presented his results on a website The butterflies of Latchmore . The survey provides an important record of the distribution and frequency of the 22 species which he saw in the valley. They would all be affected by the Forestry Commission’s proposed major engineering works at Latchmore, scheduled to start in 2016.
The Forestry Commission and the EIA Team (LUC) have produced responses to the many comments they received after their Exhibition in Hyde on 6 October, and you can read them here. Comments are grouped into topics involved and answered generally, not individually. Many of the responses refer to the Environmental Statement, which will not be available until the planning application is submitted: this is now expected to be in early 2016.
In a Presentment to the Verderers’ Court on 18 November, Fiona Macdonald outlined the threats which the proposed engineering works at Latchmore would present to protected fish species (one is the subject of a new EC Regulation) and to equines (by creating suitable habitat for the insects which are responsible for the spread of dangerous Equine Exotic Diseases).
Work has recently been completed at Harvestslade. Five papers with photographs are ‘Early examples of rapid erosion’, ‘The works in progress’, ‘Creating a new channel through a mire’, ‘The works in progress’ (comparison with Latchmore) and ‘The stockpile site’.