Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

Liberal Democrats say there’s no better time to protect our ancient woodlands

by Garth Harkness on 16 December, 2020

Ancient woodlands now only cover less of 3% of England’s landmass, yet the charity the Woodland Trust has estimated that 1,200 may be under threat.  Oldham and Saddleworth Liberal Democrat Councillors want to see Oldham Council at the forefront of the fight to protect our nation’s remaining irreplaceable legacy of ancient woodlands and ancient and veteran trees. 

Saddleworth West and Lees Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani will be proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (16 December 2020) calling for more protection for these trees:  “In Oldham, we are all well aware of the threat of development hanging over our natural landscape with plans to build a significant number of new homes on our Green Belt.  Whilst other elements of our physical landscape may have been worked and managed by humankind over the centuries, ancient woodlands and veteran trees have stood undefiled”.

“Despite what may happen in the future, ancient woodlands and veteran trees must remain as irreducible symbols of our past.  We can learn from them, we can love them, and as elected members and as a local authority, we must do all that we can to protect them”. 

Saddleworth North Councillor Garth Harkness is backing his Liberal Democrat colleague. Commenting he added:  “The government’s National Planning Policy Framework has put planning protection for ancient woodlands and ancient and veteran trees on a par with the protection afforded to historic buildings, like palaces and castles, demonstrating that their loss to our nation would be too high a price to pay whatever the development”. 

“The Liberal Democrats hope that our new Local Plan will mirror the best practice of other local authorities and the excellent guidance from the Woodland Trust to ensure that ancient woodlands and ancient and veteran trees in this borough are comprehensively protected for our future generations to enjoy”.

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