Assuming too much about the woods?
I refer to an item published last week in the ‘Scarborough News’ concerning
‘Felling of ‘non-native’ trees in Raincliffe woods’.
This article falls short on accuracy on several counts and attempts to justify this needless destruction with a spin that we shall all somehow become beneficiaries by these operations!
Firstly, the ‘fell to waste grant’ applied to Row Brow and Forge Valley is indeed a complete waste of money, needlessly blitzing the lovely woodland ridge surrounding this town and leaving a mass of debris on the woodland floor.
Secondly, non-native trees must go? This seems rather drastic as most of our trees currently in the UK are NOT strictly native species and often have stronger resistance to climate change. Does their definition ‘non-native’ cover the ‘Scots Pine’ for example; do they regard that as an alien species? Do they consider the ‘European Larch’ and other adapted species non-native, or is this simply because it suits their agenda?
Oh well, perhaps they mean non-native to Raincliffe Woods? If this is so how far back do they wish to regress into history as this wonderfully diverse woodland has steadily evolved over the decades?
Finally, considering the extent of public feeling, it seems that this so called ‘enterprise’ assumes far too much without being properly accountable to the community it is supposed to serve!
In conclusion, whatever the motive behind these ‘industrial scale’ operations ‘highly questionable’ reasoning is being used to justify the virtually unrestricted plundering of much loved public woodland.
Response to the latest ridiculous ‘Woodland Trust’ propaganda…..
Regarding Raincliffe Woods, Row Brow and Forge Valley.
Dear Mr. Sword,
It has become apparent that our very different outlooks have come into conflict since you became a participating force in Scarborough Council’s ‘Social Enterprise’ experiment. After over four years, it is fair to say that all our local community has received as a consequence amounts to doubt and misery. There has been no clear benefit to the community or genuine conservation effort incorporating preserving a valuable and existing habitat with a sustainable and sympathetic plan that embraces the present day character of Raincliffe Woods. Beyond that any remedial effort to make amends for the excessive removal of mature and healthy trees recently undertaken seems to have been done in a rather ad hoc fashion.
In view of the general dissatisfaction and growing suspicion among the general public about the activities of RWCE clearly manifest on social media, I will ask you to look again at what is proposed, and reconsider any forthcoming felling operations. With great respect I would like to point out that unlike our great privately owned estates, Raincliffe Wood, Row Brow and Forge Valley is still a public domain.
Mr Simon Bowers of the Forestry/Timber Industry seems oblivious to public opinion about a PUBLIC wood – full response below …..
I feel impelled to once again write about Raincliffe Woods, responding to last week’s article in the Scarborough News by Mr Simon Bowers.
Some of his comments sadly fall well short of what one would expect of a professional in any field of expertise worthy of respect. Mr Bowers seeks the moral high ground by declaring he is some sort of ‘victim’ then goes on to glibly dismiss all other opinions as rubbish.
It seems that public opinion still does not account for much even though these matters concern public woodland. However, perhaps the ground-swell of support for the ‘Save Raincliffe Woods’ campaign is eventually beginning to register, that these issues are now; albeit belatedly, being addressed.
From the public perspective his ‘expertise’ might seem a little hollow upon their encountering the consequences of these operations, which will take not just years but generations to show any theoretical benefit.
As a mere country loving and gardening member of the public I must ask, how can tiny saplings even begin to form a sufficient root-base to absorb run-off and secure the escarpment? The felled mature, healthy coniferous specimens are actually proven to more quickly absorb runoff, as per a well documented ‘European Environment Agency’ study, which I will be glad to share with Mr. Bowers.
There is also concern about the introduction of disease into these woods, may I remind Mr Bowers that the spores that carry disease are more likely to enter this healthy wood on the very machinery his team are using.
Perhaps experts should also condescend to consider how ordinary mortals are affected by these operations!
Further, as to be labelled ‘selfish’ and ‘short sighted’ for simply caring about what happens to our environment here and now, this amounts to an attack in itself and does seem somewhat less than magnanimous from a professional expert in any field. Incidentally some respondents on Facebook have indeed been banned form the Save Raincliffe Woods page for offensive, abusive and aggressive attacks on the reasonable majority of supporters
A Veil of Secrecy Over Raincliffe’ – Published Scarborough News 25.Feb.2016
Why, I wonder is there a dubious veil of secrecy surrounding the future of Raincliffe Woods? In 2012 the council first demonstrated its forsaken commitment to the protection of this slice of our rural heritage. After the initial positive hype a wall of silence has been constructed around this toxic ‘Community Enterprise’. Yet four years on all we have is a decimated much loved community amenity that is being literally plundered for its timber resources. All this is without any viable consultation or consideration for the consequences of this wanton vandalism. Also including along Scarborough’s tree lined fringe where a potential onslaught of chainsaws is imminent with no regard for the aesthetic or practical implications for town or community.
Genuine questions have been asked by the public yet no answers forthcoming. The open letter that I sent to every Scarborough Borough Councillor has effectively been ignored, just like all the numerous emails sent to their publicly funded tablets!
Not only are we witnessing unprecedented destruction of our local rural environment but worryingly a blatant slur on every aspect of democratic principles. Democracy is not an easy ride these battles should be openly and fairly fought out in the council chamber. It is surely the duty of our Green Councillors in particular to speak up for these important manifestly ‘green’ issues on behalf of the community whom they are supposed to represent!
Meanwhile more mature and splendid trees are being earmarked for removal, with what sanction I ask? Are these woods now in ‘private’ rather than ‘public’ hands? What right has the council to effectively hand over a precious slice of our natural heritage to a commercially orientated enterprise that refuses to be accountable to anyone?
Time has proven the futility of this whole affair with only destruction to show over a three year period. Where are the improved footpaths and signage, where are the volunteers who used to do such amazing conservation work and improvements to access? Instead we’re left with the pointless desecration of a natural amenity and a ‘veil of secrecy’ with only a few pretty posters to reassure us all will be well!
Yet, here in Scarborough with no consideration for the proven facts, established Larch trees that form much of the woodland canopy are being senselessly removed
Our Woods in unsafe hands
It seems prevailing silence from so called ‘Raincliffe Woods community Enterprise’ speaks volumes and is equal only to its utter incompetence and misguided vision.
From the start only a selected sharing of information was initially available strangely focused on Barrowcliffe! There is in this case however, no comfort in the knowledge that such a large and precious tract of our local landscape is in ‘unsafe hands’ which are not being held to account!
Our lovely woodland fringe and wildlife corridor is at risk!
It stretches from Stepney Bank Farm, alongside the Wireless Station becoming a leafy backdrop to the cemetery and hospital then to Throxenby Mere then flanking Low Road before the picturesque ‘Forge Valley’ to East Ayton! What wider consultation has taken place to justify such large scale invasive operations on such a significant and delightful piece of our natural heritage?
Meanwhile, the first effects of this ongoing menace are being felt by regular visitors to the wood, this is apparently just the beginning!
Up on the high ridge that boarders precious farmland native pine trees were planted to prevent soil erosion and land slip. They are ‘felling to waste’ all along this ridge – this means felling many beautiful trees and leaving the debris on the ground! How can this be justified? It seems that RWCE is bad news for the countryside and for this town with much of its agenda shrouded in mystery and the so called ‘board of directors’ somewhat difficult to access!
This town deserves better, perhaps the council will take back their duty of custodianship of the precious local resource as a matter of urgency before more irreparable damage is done.
To attempt to redress the information imbalance the public are invited to view the ‘Save Raincliffe Woods’ website at – www.saveraincliffewoods.co.uk and also join in our Facebook debate!
This large scale machinery back next year and beyond! NO!
See our ‘CALL TO ACTION BELOW’!
Ask not what the Woodlands can do for you! – Ask what YOU can do for the Woodlands!
Sign the petition to Robert Goodwill MP on Facebook…. Change.org
Contact your local councillors – emails tend to be ignored sadly
Contact your local MP – Robert Goodwill – emails tend to be ignored sadly
Contact our local newspaper – firstname.lastname@example.org T/P 01723 860100
Address – Newchase Court, Hopper Hill Road, Scarborough, YO11 3YS
Support – ‘Save Raincliffe Woods’ on – Facebook, Twitter, Website
/email – email@example.com
Contact RWCE difficult! – The best contact is to Claire – firstname.lastname@example.org