The Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Mims Davies, has welcomed that thanks to funding from the Government and the Woodland Trust, campaigners can start a much-needed update to the Ancient Woodland Inventory to record all ancient woodland sites in England.
The move follows a Bill – supported by the Eastleigh MP – that was brought forward by Conservative MP Michael Fabricant and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees in January, calling on the Government to support an update to the inventory for Ancient Woodland.
Commenting, Eastleigh MP Mims Davies said:
“As the former Vice-Chair of the APPG on Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees, and having been on the front bench when this Bill was presented and recently met with the Environment Secretary Michael Gove to discuss ancient woodland and the environment more broadly, I very much welcome this key funding, and the good it will do in mapping and therefore protecting ancient woodland and veteran trees right the way across the country, including within my Eastleigh constituency.
“While the Liberal Democrat administration at Eastleigh Borough Council continue to make clear that they are not interested in protecting our local trees – because they don’t have votes! – I am proud that the Conservatives locally and in Government continue to bring about ever greater protections for our trees and environment as a whole and I look forward to meeting with the Housing Minister – and fellow Hampshire MP, Kit Malthouse, in relation to this soon.
“Importantly this work builds on the strongest ever protections for both ancient woodland and veteran trees that I helped to secure last year, and are now included within the new National Planning Policy Framework, and I congratulate my parliamentary colleagues, the Woodland Trust and others on securing it.”
Abi Bunker, Director of Conservation & External Affairs at the Woodland Trust added:
“This is a really important grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which will help us, in a partnership with Natural England, to begin updating the Ancient Woodland Inventory.
“This is a huge step closer to creating a complete and up to date map of all the ancient woodlands in England. If we know where our ancient woods are, we can ensure they are all protected for future generations to enjoy.”
Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP said:
“Groups like the Woodland Trust are playing a crucial role in protecting our green spaces, including our irreplaceable ancient forests, for future generations to enjoy long after we are gone.
“This will form the first modern stocktake of all woodland in England, acting as a powerful tool for councils as they plan the development of their communities and build the homes we need.”