A proposed new quarry in Kent that could destroy even more ancient woodland than HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing combined must be stopped at all costs, says the Woodland Trust.

The extension to Hermitage Quarry could see at least 50 hectares of ancient Oaken Wood lost.

The site is an irreplaceable ancient woodland, home to protected and iconic species, including rare bats, birds like nightjar, insects like green tiger beetle, and dormice.

A public consultation on whether the quarry extension should be taken forward in Kent County Council’s Mineral Sites Plan has been launched.In response, the Woodland Trust has launched an urgent campaign to stop one of the biggest losses of ancient woodland to development in England of the 21st century.

Trust campaign lead Jack Taylor said the proposal was “appalling”. “We’re staggered by this proposal,” he added. “Not only could it result in the loss of more than 50 hectares of ancient woodland, any remaining ancient woodland would be severely impacted – with huge effects on local wildlife and the destruction of a vital carbon store.

“We’re in the grip of a climate crisis and facing widespread biodiversity loss, so it’s imperative that we oppose the destruction of such a significant amount of irreplaceable ancient woodland.”

The UK’s ancient woods are an increasingly rare habitat, covering just 2.5% of the UK. The soils of centuries old, ancient woodland and the complex ecosystems within them cannot be re-grown or replaced. Once gone, it is lost forever.

Despite objections, a previous expansion plan for the quarry was approved in 2013, leading to the loss of 32 hectares of ancient woodland.

Taylor added: “This proposal could destroy an area of ancient woodland bigger than the losses suffered from HS2 and the Lower Thames Crossing combined.

“There should be no further loss of this precious habitat. Woods and nature are vital for the health of nature, climate and people. New quarries may be needed from time to time, but it’s hard to think of a more inappropriate place for a new quarry than an ancient woodland. Another location must be found.

“We’re ready to fight this and we need as many people as possible to add their own voice to the consultation and join the Woodland Trust in telling Kent County Council to remove this unacceptable expansion from its Mineral Sites Plan.

“It is imperative that we oppose the destruction of such an immense amount of irreplaceable ancient woodland.” 

The Woodland Trust is appealing for help to stop the proposal by getting as many people as possible to join its urgent campaign at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/protecting-trees-and-woods/campaign-with-us/hermitage-quarry/

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites