“Restoration or destruction?”

In his ‘New Forest Notes’ in the Lymington Times dated 6 September 2014, Anthony Pasmore writes about the Forestry Commission’s “restoration” projects in the New Forest with particular reference to the recent work at Ditchend.  He considers the long-term consequences of these projects which involve major engineering work on a Site of Special Scientific Interest and questions whether they really do benefit the Forest environment.

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More “restorations” without an EIA or AA

Our Solicitors have been corresponding with the NFNPA regarding recent and forthcoming Forestry Commission “restoration” works at two other sites in the north of the New Forest, Slufters Inclosure and Harvestslade Bottom respectively, querying the NFNPA’s decision that environmental assessments are not necessary for either site, despite an EIA being required for Latchmore, where similar works are proposed.

Please click on the links to see a letter from Buxtons to the NFNPA dated 11 July (also referred to below); a letter from the NFNPA to Buxtons dated 25 July enclosing Planning Permission for work at Slufters Inclosure, granted on 17 July; and a letter from Buxtons to the NFNPA dated 19 August regarding the Planning Application for work at Harvestslade Bottom.

 

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FOI request regarding the AA

In their letter dated 6 June to our Solicitors, the NFNPA referred to their letter of 20 May, which was not received by Buxtons until 25 July.  This letter concerns a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information relating to Natural England’s decision that an Appropriate Assessment was not needed for the Latchmore Brook Restoration Project.  The NFNPA notified our Solicitors that they would not disclose this information and cited their reasons.  Buxtons’ letter of 19 August challenges their claim that the information we requested qualifies for a legal exemption (and also refers to Forestry Commission works at Ditchend and Slufters Inclosure, see below and above).

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The prospect for Latchmore Brook?

DitchendIMG0525.1

Please click here.  More information will be posted as soon as it’s available.  Here, posted on 22 August, is a report produced by Friends of Latchmore on the works carried out last month by Forestry Commission contractors at Ditchend.  Also, our Solicitors referred to the works at Ditchend in their letter to the NFNPA dated 19 August.

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Further correspondence with the NFNPA

Our Solicitors continue to correspond with the NFNPA on the subject of the need for both an AA and an EIA – a letter dated 6 June from the NFNPA is here and our Solicitors’ reply dated 11 July is here.  We maintain that both Assessments should be carried out in order to provide maximum protection for Latchmore Brook and its surroundings.  The issue has not yet been resolved.

The letter from Buxtons also refers to another, similar “restoration” at North Slufters, which has just been approved without, apparently, any environmental assessments being required, a decision which we challenge.

 

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A Public Exhibition on the scope of the EIA

Friends of Latchmore are urged to go to a public exhibition on the scope of the EIA to be held by the Forestry Commission and their consultants, Land Use Consultants, on Tuesday 29 April at Godshill Village Hall from 4 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

At present we do not know whether further exhibitions will be held at other locations (we have asked the Forestry Commission to let us know), so this may be the only opportunity the public is given to talk to representatives from the FC and LUC about the preparation of the Environmental Statement.

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The need for an Appropriate Assessment

The NPA have now responded by email to Buxtons’ letter to them of 12 December 2012 (see below, paragraph 12) regarding the need for an Appropriate Assessment for the project under the Habitats Regulations.  The letter from the NPA to NE dated 26 July 2013 referred to in the email is here and NE’s reply dated 16 August 2013 is here.  A letter from our Solicitors to the NPA dated 2 April 2014 is here and the paper on the Southern Damselfly referred to in the second paragraph on the third page of the letter is here.

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Meeting with FC’s consultants

On 26 February we met representatives from the Forestry Commission and their consultants, Land Use Consultants Ltd.  At this meeting LUC gave a presentation entitled ‘Latchmore Brook Catchment Restoration Scheme – EIA’ outlining the background to the proposed project.   FoL’s Notes on the Meeting are here, and LUC’s are hereWe wrote to LUC on 20 March and sent them FoL’s lists of bird species and ponds flora recorded in the valley.

 

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