A significant area of ancient woodland could be destroyed if new reservoir proposals go ahead in Hampshire, says the Woodland Trust.
The new reservoir site put forward by Portsmouth Water is next to Havant Thicket, a large ancient woodland. This forms part of the historic Forest of Bere, which dates back almost a thousand years to 1086.
Four areas of ancient woodland totalling 14ha could face the chop: Round Wood, Middle Clearing, part of Havant Thicket, and The Avenue – a long stretch of ancient woodland also designated as wood pasture.
This site has been chosen as part of plans to secure future water supply for the South East region.
Lead campaigner for the Woodland Trust Jack Taylor said: “We understand the need for a reservoir and are not against the plans in principle, but such projects should not come at the expense of irreplaceable ancient habitat.
“It is one of our rarest habitats. It has lain undisturbed for centuries, evolving into a delicate eco-system capable of supporting thousands of species of birds, mammals, invertebrates, lichens, mosses, flowers and plants. Some species rely on ancient woodland survival for their very existence. At this time of climate and nature emergency we should be protecting this habitat, not destroying it.
“The Woodland Trust is the voice for trees and woods and we want our supporters to add their voice to ours and call on Portsmouth Water to find an alternative site for this reservoir.”
A consultation by Portsmouth Water will run until 8 June 2020. A planning application will likely follow in September.
People can reply to the consultation using the Trust’s quick and easy online form which can be found here.