A staggering 50 hectares of irreplaceable ancient woodland could be in danger if Kent County Council allows Hermitage Quarry expansion plans to go ahead. If approved, the loss could even surpass ancient woodland losses from the Lower Thames Crossing and HS2 schemes combined. 

We asked you to respond to a consultation on this plan, open 13 June - 25 July 2023. Over 25,000 of you voiced your concerns. This is huge. Thank you for standing up for Oaken Wood, for nature and for people. 

Decimating a wood and its wildlife already on the brink

The ancient woodland site under threat is Oaken Wood. It’s an irreplaceable ecosystem home to protected species including dormice, reptiles and bats.

The proposal doesn’t specify how much woodland it would impact, but our analysis suggests over 50 hectares are under serious threat. Even more would be exposed to long-term damage. The total area is equivalent to over 70 football pitches.

The wood has already suffered significant damage after a quarry extension in 2013 took away a vast 32 hectares of precious habitat. Now that wildlife could be pushed into an even smaller space.

Quick fact

Oaken Wood is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS). These are ancient woods that have been felled and replanted, often with non-native trees. They’re still hugely important, with historical and ecological features that are vital links to the original ancient wood.

Pitting built heritage against natural heritage

Supporters of the quarry may say that the expansion is necessary to meet demand for Kentish ragstone which is used to restore old buildings. But the protection of our natural world for wildlife, climate and people is equally, if not more, important.

They may also argue that they’re compensating for the loss by translocating ancient woodland soil. But there’s little evidence this works, and it will never make up for the devastation of 50+ hectares of irreplaceable habitat.

Thank you for standing up for nature with us

The plan disregards the importance of irreplaceable habitats and ignores the urgency of the climate and nature crises our ancient woods help to fight. It fails the wildlife and people of Kent.

Your response demonstrates the huge public support to save Oaken Wood. Thank you.

Following the close of the consultation we are expecting an initial update from Kent County Council this autumn. Due to the volume of responses, no decision on the quarry site is expected until 2024.

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