Watch video which shows Sheffield fields being erased to make way for a new housing estate
Campaigners have captured before and after video footage of green fields where trees have been chopped down to make way for a new housing estate.
Owlthorpe Fields Action Group (OAG) spent 18 months fighting plans by Avant Homes to build 71 houses on a wildlife haven at Moorthorpe Way, Crystal Peaks.
Councillors refused the plans but the land was designated for housing and Avant Homes won on appeal.
Campaigners say their shock at the “total destruction” has spurred them on to protect surrounding fields from future developments.
Sandra Fretwell-Smith of OAG said: “In September clearance work began on Site E. Several days later all the trees had been felled and stacked up in an enormous pile in the middle – a sad legacy of what was once a vibrant wildlife habitat and carbon sink.
“It was devastating to witness, something that was full of life, and which had grown and evolved over the last few decades, was decimated in a matter of days.
“Witnessing the enormous pile of felled trees, while at the same time seeing initiatives to plant trees and create a northern forest, brought home to us the urgent need to act.”
Avant Homes says it started initial groundworks in September and a spokesman said: “In accordance with all the required planning and environmental legal obligations, we are working within approved guidelines to minimise the impact to the surrounding woodland and wildlife.”
OAG said it wanted to work with Sheffield Council and local people to ensure the £230,000 payment made to offset the biodiversity loss on the site is used for the maximum possible benefit to the local environment and wildlife.
Claire Baker of OAG added: “This shocking environmental destruction at a time when nature and the climate is in crisis has made it more imperative we continue the fight for the remaining areas of land in Owlthorpe.
“We want to see the remaining areas become part of the proposed S20 Wildlife Corridor and be designated as protected areas for nature.
“It’s about protecting the future for the next generations while ensuring we’re building the right houses in the right places.”