Wanton destruction

Jim Clemence
👍 5

Tue 23 Nov, 09:40 (last edited on Tue 23 Nov, 12:12)

It would be good if the Forum had the capacity to do a poll to see how many readers believe that the felling of the Rushy Bank woodland has nothing to do with the development.

Even physically it now appears from plans they're not separate.  One of the latest plans seems to show that the ancient woodland overlaps onto the development site.  As the consent requires the developer to retain all trees we wait to see what it proposes to do with that bit of woodland.

By way of information the developer's latest application was rejected by WODC on Friday "because there are discrepancies and omissions on the submitted plans and information".  One of which presumably was that the landscape plan didn't show any of the existing trees as required.

As for the woodland replanting, the felling licence shows that it is going to be entirely replanted with cricket bat willow*.  Doesn't quite have the ring of Cornbury's statement that it will be "replanted with native trees and thorns complimenting other areas across the Estate and the local AONB landscape". They will also be felling hazel coppice by the way.

Is clear felling of an ancient woodland (which has its protection because it has enjoyed 400 years of continuous tree cover) ever appropriate?  I'm just amazed how many people and authorities appear to think or pretend it is.

*Cornbury has told me this morning that since their 26 September licence they have agreed with the Forestry Commission they will replant with "25% Oak, 25% small leaved lime, 35% Sycamore with the balance being 15% comprising Thorn, Wild Crab and Thorn." Documented by file note I'm told.

Helen Wilkinson
👍 6

Mon 22 Nov, 16:14 (last edited on Mon 22 Nov, 16:15)

Heather, this is not part of Rushy Bank development.

Below, I have copied and pasted Councillor Liz Leffman's posting from a previous thread on this Forum 

The trees that are being felled are not part of the ancient woodland, nor are they being felled by the Rushy Bank developer.

I have found out what is happening and confirmed it with Cornbury who own the land and these are the facts:

1. The trees are poplars that were planted relatively recently as a crop designed to be felled and turned into matchsticks. This didn't happen and the trees have reached the end of their life so they are being taken down by Nicholson's who are employed by the Cornbury Estate

2. The work has been approved by the Forestry Commission

3. The area will be replanted with native species.

This information has been given to me by Paul Allen who manages the estate.

I hope that this will set everyone's minds at rest. Of course we need to protect ancient woodland but woods also need to be managed and this sometimes means that trees need to be felled and replaced which is what is happening here.

The felled logs will be burnt - but only when they have been turned into matchsticks...

Heather Williams

Mon 22 Nov, 08:04

Lot of chopping down on the right and bonfires as you come into Charlbury towards the Station.  Presumably they are clearing this for development that was mentioned a few years ago?  Why not log the fall and then let people use for their fires?  What a waste.

Sandy Fairhurst

Thu 18 Nov, 23:26

Re the hedgerows.

There were 2 tractors working around the perimeter hedges of the lower paddocks on both sides of the track leading off Enstone Rd to Taston, if that’s the path you mean.

I’ve never seen animals in either. I was dog walking down the track that day, which ties in with Brigit’s original post.

Deborah Hofman
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 21:55 (last edited on Thu 18 Nov, 21:56)

To return to Brigid's original concern: I walked up there to-day. No you are not the only one who has  rejoiced in that tree every spring and the rest of that hedgerow that has been flailed. I could have wept. We have not had an answer as to why that has been done, or by whom, but worth raising with our Town Council?

Rod Evans
👍 7

Thu 18 Nov, 17:24 (last edited on Thu 18 Nov, 17:26)

Some other large fires visible on the way back from CN this afternoon.  I don't understand why landowners feel the need to do this - especially when the stuff is 'in the green' - I mean dahlings, it's just sooo last century!  Carbon emissions apart, if you have the space - as some do - why not pile it in places and let it decompose naturally, so providing habitats for all sorts of creepy crawlies and small mammals?  Biodiversity brownie points and less work involved too.  Answers on a postcard please...

Gareth Epps
👍 4

Sun 14 Nov, 22:32

If it’s a Thames Water initiative at Fawler, I suppose we are supposed to be grateful that the initiative is restricted to unnecessary burning of vegetation rather than deliberate pollution sponsored by the Government.

Hannen Beith
👍 3

Sun 14 Nov, 16:21

Ironic that this is being done at the end of the COP26 summit.


Christine Battersby
👍 2

Sun 14 Nov, 15:45 (last edited on Sun 14 Nov, 15:57)

John, I'm sure the Environment Agency must know. 

The Evenlode is the first of the Smarter Water Catchment areas put forward by Thames Water and Atkins. This involves the creation of  new wetlands and monitoring stations, plus much else.

Details of the Evenlode Catchment Partnershiphere here: https://www.wildoxfordshire.org.uk/biodiversity/river-catchments/evenlode-catchment/

Detailed statements of plans here: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/media-library/home/about-us/responsibility/smarter-water-catchments/river-evenlode-smarter-water-catchment-plan.pdf

The plan involves: 

"Removing or providing fish easement to barriers in the main rivers and tributaries; 

Reconnecting the river with its natural flood plain and changing floodplain management to land uses (e.g. meadows, wet woodlands), which will slow overland flows and reduce the nutrient and soil loss into the river; 

Cultivating a rich, biodiverse landscape through various new and existing schemes and incentives

Monitoring and evaluating changes in biodiversity."

I'm assuming what is involved at Fawler  is the creation of new wetlands & perhaps re-directing the direction of the river. I'm not sure how all of that might be affected by the abandoned ironstone mines near the Fawler Bridge. 

 But, yes, I agree that it is a shame that so much wood is being simply burnt -- not just on Saturday, but for days on end. 

John Dora
👍 2

Sun 14 Nov, 14:19

I wondered what was going on at Fawler Mill - if there was dredging or bank works does the Environment Agency know? Dredging of a Main River such as the Evenlode needs land drainage consent under the provisions of the Thames Water Authority Land Drainage Byelaws 1981 see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/297294/geth0907bndj-e-e.pdf

Gareth Epps
👍 9

Sat 13 Nov, 21:47

The depressing thing at Fawler Mill was that yesterday they were burning what they’d cut down and not finding a more sustainable use.

Philip Ambrose
👍 4

Sat 13 Nov, 20:20

On the whole, the farmers make a pretty good fist of looking after the countryside around here. The existence of a right of way does not entitle us to control everything that happens in the vicinity (unless a TPO applies).

Re Fawler Mill, I can only assume that they are preparing a soft landing pad for the next motorist who fails to make the right hand bend, once again demolishing the newly rebuilt bridge. I hope that the latest one was held to account and their insurance company billed accordingly.

nigel rosser
👍 2

Sat 13 Nov, 18:32

Agree with Hannen. Ban all farmers

Hannen Beith
👍 2

Sat 13 Nov, 17:04

It'll be a farmer who's responsible. Guardian of the countryside. So they tell us.

nigel rosser
👍 2

Thu 11 Nov, 18:41

Except to make way for Rushybank?

Steve Jones
👍 3

Thu 11 Nov, 18:41 (last edited on Fri 12 Nov, 09:19)

The report on the 2007 floods in Charlbury did identify problems and actions to be taken to alleviate flooding that had been caused downstream of the town. This included dealing with pinch points and obstructions cause by vegetation.

Section 3 deals with this :-

"Flooding attributed to high flows in the River Evenlode caused flooding of land and property downstream of Charlbury Town."

Among the things recommended was the following (recommendation A in area 3) :-

"Riparian owners to actively manage vegetation in the channel and on the banks and adjacent land of the River Evenlode and other tributaries and ditches in the Parish. This would remove restrictions to flow, improve the capacity of the channel to convey flood water and allow flood water to pass onto the floodplain without backing up."

What appears to me to be happening downstream of Fawler Mill, which included a JCB dredging some of the channel, is consistent with this as general maintenance of the river and its banks. The railway track bed is fairly low in this area, and if the river floods it might be possible the track bed or embankments could be washed out. That is what happened in 2007 which put the line out of action for a couple of weeks.

Vegetation will grow back quickly enough without management. It certainly does in what I hesitate to call my garden.

Presumably there are dedicated flood plain areas downstream, perhaps closer to the Thames, where any flood water is meant to spread out rather than being trapped by obstructions in the river course of the Evenlode Valley and damaging the railway track bed and embankments.

Chris Tatton
👍 3

Thu 11 Nov, 17:41

You would have thought that as a result of the climate crisis, much more trees should be planted than destroyed? 

Helen Chapman
👍 2

Thu 11 Nov, 17:33

On another matter of destruction for the last few days I've seen fires and JCBs clearing all the undergrowth along the river on the far side of the B road near Fawler Mill. I assume this is an extension of the clearing that was done all along the river through Cornbury. It's rather a depressing site and I can't understand the benefit as surely all those shrubs and small trees help to take up excess water and prevent flooding downstream. Not to mention the loss of wildlife habitats.

Brigid Avison
👍 4

Wed 10 Nov, 15:01

I expect I'm not the only person to have appreciated and been grateful for the beauty of the crab apple tree beside the footpath leading up from the Enstone Road gate towards Spelsbury. I have just walked the path and been appalled and deeply saddened to see that the tree has been brutally flailed, for no reason that I can understand. Who commissioned this work, and why was the person undertaking it not guided/supervised to avoid such needless and irreparable damage? And will they now, at the very least, prune the ripped and ragged stumps cleanly to give the tree some possibility of healthy regrowth, though it will take years to make good the destruction? 

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