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Greenwashing in Wiltshire

The project involves planting over 200 acres of non-native trees.

Rows of recent planted of young pine trees.

A project is reportedly planned in Wiltshire to plant a monoculture of non-native conifers over 200 acres of thriving grade two arable land. The proposed site is also in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The project is to be funded with around £1m of the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). This is a grant scheme to encourage investment in woodland creation. The Government argues that the woodlands it creates will help to mitigate climate change, deliver nature recovery and provide wider environmental and social benefits.

However, a source close to the development has told ST that the approval process of the woodland design and the grant aid have not complied with UK Forestry Standards or EWCO regulations, and no environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been carried out.

The plans serve to extend a commercial lumbering business at the taxpayers’ expense. Many people have objected to the Forestry Commission (FC), but with no EIA or public consultation, the plans are not widely known.

Richard Burden, of Cranborne Chase AONB, said: “The FC disregarding the fundamental need for an EIA has led to this classic case of wrong tree, wrong place, wrong reason.”