Environment Secretary 'doesn't grasp the value of ancient forests'

5 January 2014

The Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson has told The Times newspaper that he supports "biodiversity" offsetting to allow the destruction of ancient woodland, which covers 350,000 hectares in Britain, a third of all land classified as woodland. (1)

In response Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: "Mr Paterson is sadly reminding us here of his ecological and scientific illiteracy.

"The man who said climate change was 'not all bad' has again demonstrated that he's not able to understand the basic principles of science.

"In this case he's failed to grasp that ancient forests are immensely rich and complex ecosystems made up not just a huge variety of plants, animals and microbes that have taken many centuries to develop together, not merecollection of trees that can be replaced as though they were concrete
pillars sitting in a car park."

Bennett added: "There's little doubt, however, what lies behind his words. One of the biggest single threats to ancient woodlands is HS2, and the government is clearly here trying to justify some of the destruction of the natural environment that this costly, ill-thought-out project would cause."

(1) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3965473.ece

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