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Nervous wait for Pound Hill, Crawley residents as land owner culls woodland next to M23

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Residents in Pound Hill are waiting nervously for a report to be released by the Forestry Commission following a large portion of woodland around Burleys Wood being culled.

The land owner instructed workers over the Christmas period to cut down trees across a large patch of woodland next to the M23.

A popular pathway that runs between the land and land owned by Highways England has seen the tranquil pathway used by residents and dog walkers become opened up to the noise of the motorway.

Residents and councilors rallied round to find out who was responsible and the reasons behind it. It was soon discovered that the land was privately owned and initial reports that it belonged to Crawley Council or Highways England were not true.

One dog walker said:

“I used to allow my dog to run around the forest knowing that the dense nature of it would prevent him from going anywhere near the motorway. Now though what is there to stop him going onto the carriageway?”

Other residents have already complained to both the council and to the Forestry Commission saying that as a result of the trees being removed the noise levels have increased considerably.

Initially there was a lot of confusion over whether the land owner had a license to remove the trees but since an investigation was launched the Forestry Commission and DEFRA has confirmed that no license was provided.

However, they have also made it clear that this does not mean that anything wrong has been undertaken as there are numerous reasons why this could have been done without the need for a license.

It was also pointed out that none of the trees cut down had any protection order on them.

Representatives from the Forestry Commission were seen last week taking measurements and photos of the area in order to provide a report that will be part of an investigation to assess whether any wrong doing had been done.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs clarified that:

“If we find that there is no felling licence or other valid permission is in place, or if the wrong trees are cut down:

  1. All parties involved can be prosecute
  2. The Forestry Commission can, in certain circumstances, serve a Restocking Notice to re-stock the land concerned, or any other land as may be agreed, regardless of whether or not a prosecution takes place
  3. The person served with the notice must maintain the replacement trees to acceptable standards for up to 10 years”

Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/report-suspected-illegal-tree-felling and www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-felling-licence-when-you-need-to-apply

For now though residents will have to wait to find out whether the culling of the trees on this private property will be allowed or whether there will be repurcussions.

Community

Crawley Council want your views on helping tackle traffic and transport issues

Crawley Borough Council’s Cabinet approved plans for a public consultation on New Directions for Crawley, the draft Crawley Transport Strategy, on Wednesday 15 January.

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Crawley Borough Council is committed to enabling healthier and more sustainable transport options, working with West Sussex County Council and other partners to help to tackle traffic congestion and make our streets safer and more attractive.

Crawley Borough Council is developing a strategy to improve how we travel around the town and the choice of transport options for residents and visitors.

You can share your views on New Directions for Crawley, the new draft transport and access strategy.

The strategy proposes a vision of a walkable town along with improved sustainable public transport, car clubs and safecycling, using a mix of innovative and integrated transportfacilities to serve everyone’s needs.

It has been drafted as part of the local response to the climate emergency, which Crawley Borough Council declared at its Full Council meeting in July 2019.  

The council is asking residents to share their thoughts and ideas on the draft document, with the goal of ensuring proposals meet the needs of residents and visitors.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said:

“It is really important for the council to hear your views on this draft strategy. “Transport is now recognised as the biggest single contributor to carbon emissions, which in turn causes climate heating.  It can also cause poor air quality and biodiversity loss. 

“We are all aware of the urgency for action on the climate crisis. This is a chance for residents to find what’s possible and to give us their thoughts on ways to improve access for everyone, to reduce congestion and pollution and improve health in our town.”

Residents can provide feedback to the draft Transport Strategy from 20 January to 9am on 17 February 2020 online at www.crawley.gov.uk/consultations or directly by email to NewDirections@crawley.gov.uk

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