Damage fear at woodland

ENVIRONMENTALISTS say a motorbiking events should change location because the annual sporting session is causing damage to a protected woodland.

Becky Addy Wood, near Upper Westwood in Bradford on Avon has been home of West Wilts Motor Club for over a decade and has hosted biking events since 1954.

The last biking event, held in April 2018, caused concern among locals who believe that the event is causing damage to trees and saplings and should be banned under a woodland tree prevention order in place since 2007.

The club say they are working with Wiltshire Council and are keen to have a dialogue over their amenity use of the forest area.

The next event, planned for October 6, is set to go ahead despite complaints.

The club did not wish to provide a public statement when asked for comment.

Lou Barry is a volunteer tree warden at Wiltshire Council and says a tree protection order introduced in 2007 should mean that Wiltshire Council ban the sports event.

She said: “West Wilts Motor Club want to continue using Becky Addy wood like they have always done, but times change and our forests are getting more and more precious. We have to take a stance.

“This area is our Amazon and the area is protected, which is quite a special thing. It protects all the seedlings in the wood as well as the trees and the roots and saplings.

“The concern is that especially with tree killing disease Ash Dieback, all those ash trees are going to die. They could die within a decade and there needs to be natural regeneration. If the seedlings are constantly being disturbed damaged and destroyed that natural regeneration doesn’t happen. We don’t want to spoil their fun, we know it is a sport but this is not the place.”

Christopher Humphreys lives nearby and added: “The ancient woodlands are rich in rare and endangered biodiversity.

“By definition a woodland tree protection order protects the entire wood, all trees all saplings.”

Speaking at a recent cabinet meeting, Frank Sweeting of West Wits Motor Club defended the event.

He said: “Much of their argument is subjective observation was presented as fact.

“We are not at all encouraged as this campaign to stop the use of this ground which has continued to out knowledge continuously from time to time since1954 and among these other things is sporting activity we encourage and I hope council continue to support.”

Cabinet member Toby Sturgis told campaigners that more evidence was needed before the council would take any action. He said: “I fully appreciate concerns about the wood but we have to have the evidence to do this. At the moment there is a number of written statements, I do not consider they all provide evidence.”

This is Wiltshire

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