Environmental groups have warned that a Sheffield wildlife site faces ‘irretrievable destruction’ if plans to build a new M1 service station go ahead.
The Woodland Trust, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and Cowley Health and Environment Group have become the latest groups to submit official objections to the plans for Smithy Wood, near Chapeltown in north Sheffield.
Hundreds of objections have been sent to Sheffield Council, including from MPs David Blunkett, Paul Blomfield, Angela Smith and Sarah Champion.
Extra Motorway Service Area is seeking to build the motorway stop across 20 acres beside Smithy Wood near junction 35 of the M1.
A letter from the Cowley Health and Environment Group said the area was ‘extremely important for nature conservation and protection of threatened species and habitats’.
The letter adds: “It is an important corridor for wildlife. This proposal covers a huge area and would result in the irretrievable destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitats.”
Liz Ballard, chief executive for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “It is about significantly increasing the financial value of private land by significantly decreasing the environmental and amenity value of the site for wildlife and local people.”
Luci Ryan, ecological impact assessor for The Woodland Trust, said: “The loss of over eight hectares of irreplaceable ancient woodland for the construction of a commercial business that could be located in a less sensitive environment is completely unacceptable, and would lead to permanent damage to the environment at both a local and national level.”
Developers say about 450 jobs would be created during construction and up to 300 permanent jobs.
They say it is needed because drivers have to travel up to 42 miles on the M1 without a stop.