Woodland Trust highlights loss of 3 areas of ancient woodland for Gatwick runway
Though much of the area that would be flattened and covered in concrete and tarmac for a 2nd Gatwick runway – and associated building – would be fields and grassland, there are also three areas of ancient woodland. The Woodland Trust has assessed the woods that are threatened and found that they are significant and have important local biodiversity value. The current Gatwick consultation on its runway options (there is only one of the options that the airport wants, and the consultation has no proper way for respondents to say they oppose any new runway) barely recognises the impact a new runway will have on this irreplaceable habitat. The fact it will also wipe out the last remaining ecological network for wildlife around the whole of the south side of the airport is ignored. The Woodland Trust is urging people to respond to the consultation, either by just saying NO to any of the options, or giving more detail in the response boxes to reflect the proposed destruction of these valuable bits of high quality woodland.
Map of the area just south of Gatwick airport showing Rowley Wood, Huntsgreen Wood and woodland at Bonnets Lane. All would be flattened by a new wide-spaced runway.
Say no to ancient woodland loss at Gatwick
Take part in the public consultation on the proposed expansion of Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport Limited is holding a public consultation on the proposed expansion of the airport. They are considering three options for a new second runway, south of the current runway. All three would cause direct loss to ancient woodland. Once lost, this rare and precious habitat is gone forever. None of the options put forward are suitable because of the loss to this irreplaceable habitat.
The following options are under consultation until 16 May 2014:
- Option 1 – a new runway 600m south of the current runway. This would cause direct loss to over 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of ancient woodland.
- Options 2 and 3 – a new runway over 1km south of the current runway. This would cause direct loss to nearly 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of ancient woodland.
- None of these options – no ancient woodland is lost.
Ancient woodland must not be ignored
This consultation barely recognises the impact a new runway will have on this irreplaceable habitat. The fact it will also wipe out the last remaining ecological network for wildlife around the whole of the south side of the airport is ignored.
These new plans are another prime example of why ancient woodland needs better protection from national infrastructure!
Speak up for ancient woodland
Help us put a spotlight on the impacts to ancient woodland at Gatwick by taking part in the official consultation, using our simple form.
Your response will feed into the report from the independent Airports Commission which is analysing the need and potential for airport expansion across the country for the Government, so it’s especially important you raise your concerns now.
The threat to ancient woodland from a second runway and associated development at Gatwick is serious.
The loss to ancient woodland and the ecological impact on the important surrounding landscape needs to be given more consideration in each of the options that have been put forward!
Please take this opportunity to give ancient woodland a voice.
GACC ( the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) suggest those against a new runway ONLY tick the “None of these options” box in Section D. And no other boxes.
However, the Woodland Trust gives further information if people want to fill in more of the consultation document, highlighting the implications for ancient woodland.
These are at:
You can help!
There are specific questions in the current consultation which relate to the environment that we recommend you respond to, and the Woodland Trust have put together some top tips to help you make sure ancient woodland can be heard:
A – Impact on ecology/wildlife A2 – Comments or suggestions about the potential impacts of a second runway C1 – Protecting existing woodland where possible D1 – Selection of runway option D2 – Expanding on why you have chosen that option
Question A – Details to what extent you are concerned about ecology/wildlife. As a supporter of the Woodland Trust we are sure that you will choose either – ‘very concerned’ or ‘fairly concerned’!
Question C1– The proposals do not go far enough to protect ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is irreplaceable. Global Infrastructure Partnerships has not “protected existing woodland where possible”, this is demonstrated by the additional 5.9-7.8 hectares of ancient woodland that will be affected which is not within the proposed expansion area. They have not gone far enough in their protection plans: ‘Strongly oppose’.
Question D1 – All the options proposed will cause direct loss to ancient woodland. Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable habitat; once lost it and the ecological corridors that it provides to vulnerable wildlife, is gone forever. ‘NONE OF THESE OPTIONS’.
Questions A2 & D2: This is the time to raise the importance of ancient woodland. The consultation states that Option 1 will cause the direct loss to 1.8 hectares ancient woodland and may affect a further 5.9 hectares ancient woodland. Options 2 and 3 will cause direct loss to 7.7 hectares ancient woodland and may affect a further 7.8 hectares ancient woodland.
It also states “We will need to provide compensatory habitat to offset the effects of losses which we cannot directly mitigate.”
We suggest you include the following in your response
- has been around for many centuries – long enough to develop as ecosystems that are rich, complex, and irreplaceable. Some ancient woods may even link back to the original wildwood that covered the UK around 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age
- forms just 2% of the UK’s land cover
- is a rare and irreplaceable habitat. Once lost, it is gone forever
- has developed over large timescales. Ancient woods have unique features such as relatively undisturbed soils and communities of plants and animals that depend on the stable conditions ancient woodland provides, some of which are rare and vulnerable.
Vulnerable species need connectivity
Species that are typical of ancient woodland flora such as bluebells, wood anemone and celandine take a long time to spread and also need specific conditions to flourish. If ancient woodland is lost the species within the woodland will not be able to move and adapt to a new location quickly enough.
We need to protect vulnerable ancient woodland wildlife by creating new woodland and other habitats around the remaining fragments of ancient woodland to shield them from the effects of neighbouring land use. And we need to create more spaces for wildlife in the wider landscape to link between the remaining fragments of ancient woodland, not destroy these links.
A second runway at Gatwick would obliterate the last remaining ecological corridor around the south side of the airport.
If the land is lost between Gatwick and Crawley it will further fragment this landscape which will decrease the resilience of the landscape to climate change and species movement.
With regards to Gatwick’s suggestion of ‘providing compensatory habitat’, as it is irreplaceable the loss of ancient woodland can never be compensated for. It should not be part of an offsetting scheme.
You can respond to the consultation in full on the Gatwick website