M1 Service Station In Ancient Woodland

This is a new case for ELF. It concerns Smithy Wood, a 21 acre ancient woodland close to Junction 35 of the M1, and a planning application by Extra MSA to erase it to build a motorway service station. Our case focuses initially on a Town and Village Green application due to go to Public Inquiry in the New Year. Local people who have used the ancient woodland for generations are facing the threat of a proposal to build a motorway service station and hotel in the middle of this beautiful and historic woodland. Fortunately the TVG application was lodged some months before the planning application, though this hasn’t prevented the objector’s from claiming a “trigger event”. The objectors are claiming that biodiversity off-setting, in a far away park, will be adequate substitution for the ancient woodland, will be sufficient recompense for the loss of this precious woodland. Radio 4’s the Today Programme recently interviewed a spokesperson for the Woodland Trust, about Smithy Wood, pressing home the serious loss of habitat that this proposal would entail.