LETTERS: Illegal bikers will destroy woodland

Plans for an M! service station at Smithy Wood have stirred up controversy
Plans for an M! service station at Smithy Wood have stirred up controversy
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In response to your published, Star letter referring to Smith Wood and Extra Motorway Services. No one, (including Extra), wants to see the destruction of any woodland in order to facilitate any building development project.

It has however, been proven through extensive, diligent research, regulatory and transport requirements, research analysis, environmental impact audits and assessments, that the Smithy Wood site is the best option for the proposed services.

Both Woodall and Woolley Edge have served M1 motorists since it was opened, when traffic was sparse.

You may have noticed recently, these services, when full to capacity, overflow with lorries parked illegally on the slip roads and laybys, in order to comply with the Driving Time Directive and regulations. The additional J35 facility for rest-over, stop-over purposes is essential for the very obvious health and safety reasons and for the massive increase in the volume of traffic on the motorway.

Smithy Wood, to all growing up after the War, is remembered as a coking plant and not as an ancient woodland.

Smithy Wood was never ever included or formed part of any history nature studies or school outings. We would visit Scholes Wood to see Caesar’s Camp and the bell-pits. It was never deemed important or to have ecological value in relation to school lessons. We used to spend hours in Hesley Bar Wood.

You believe that Extra has not engaged with residents, but I have found their website very friendly and open. There is now a newsletter to update us. You can actually speak to their team. I invited myself to the workshops, not as a member of any organisation, I was made most welcome and was included in discussion.

Extra’s financial package commitment for the care of the surrounding 200 acres for the next 50 years and beyond is wonderful news for all, including the local conservation groups who work so hard with little funding.

Perhaps the Woodland Trust should consider joining them in partnership, then maybe they could include the word “sustainable” in their woodland mission statement.

The irresponsible behaviour of the illegal bike riders using the woodland pathways as racetracks, the fly-tippers, drug users and car thief arsonists is what will eventually destroy all our woodlands and certainly not a planning proposal with a commitment to secure a future.

Local resident

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