Updated 24th May with full response from landowner which can be found here ⇒ Willow Wood Response
On the 21st May 2019 the Forestry Commission (FC) granted permission to allow coppicing and clearance at Hogs Wood (formerly known as Willow Wood), Sandling Rd, Sandling.
Tree felling at a greater intensity than 30% of the canopy (in all or part of an operational area) was not allowed as was made clear in the permission granted by the FC. If more than 30% was coppiced the FC state in the permission granted “it may constitute a breach of the thinning permission.”
The trees which were allowed to be coppiced were sweet chestnut, broad leaves eg lime, horse chestnut, birch and alder.
Coppicing began in late 2019 and came to light in Jan at first then late April/early May 2020.
In early May dog walkers and off road cyclists began posting information on social media that the owners of the land, Saltwood Estates Limited, a company owned by Mr John Jones and his wife Angela, may well have exceeded what was permitted under the agreed FC permission. It’s also looks as though trees which may have not been permitted to be felled, have been.
We have witnessed the felling of more than one oak tree in the given area, on a visit to the site yesterday (17th May 2020)
We understand the Forestry Commission have received a growing number of complaints and Folkestone & Hythe District Council have issued a stop notice on the 14th May, preventing any further felling.
The Forestry Commision have begun an investigation to ascertain why Saltwood Estates Limited may have exceeded the amount they were allowed to fell. Furthermore a road has been established a new gate installed along with fencing, to what end and what purpose is unclear.
What is clear is that the local Green Party have remained silent on the potential environmental damage done to the woodland, even though they are aware of it. The Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Shepway Green Party) remains tight lipped. We also note she remains tight lipped about the council continuing to spray toxic glyphosate in council owned play areas; along with a reluctance to publish the 2019 air quality report for the district after calls for its release by us and many residents
Like the trees, we are felled by the silence of the Cabinet Member responsible for the district’s environment. Their lack of comment and action on such important environmental issues needs to be rectified now.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime