Local campaigner, Sarah Gibbs, says the fight to keep the Rotary Wood is more than just a single planning application it is about climate, justice and democracy.
Harrogate Spring Water/ Danone currently has outline planning for the removal of most of the woods, replacing it with a bottling plant. The recent application for a larger bottling plant was declined by the planning committee, but the business is now pushing forward for building a bottling plant to the plans that have outline planning permission, that would see 80% of the woods go.
It is in the hands of the planning committee at Harrogate Borough Council and is due to be determined in the next couple of months.
Campaigners are asking for people to make comment on the plans, even if they have previously commented.
At the recent full council meeting the future of the woods was discussed. The Pinewoods Conservation Group was looking for assurances over the future of the land, but that didn’t happen. Harrogate Borough Council demonstrated little green credentials, but spent sometime saying that the public shouldn’t comment on the environmental impact/ business use of the land being put forward as part of the planning application.
Harrogate Borough Council will now have one eye on the potential for a planning inspector review, if they decline the application. There is a problem with system when we have significant environmental changes going through for travel, elsewhere in a town, but the local opposition of mass production of plastic bottles in the district maybe overridden by the planning inspector in London.
Sarah Gibbs is, once again, protestor every week outside the Harrogate Borough Council Offices.
Campaigner, Sarah Gibbs Said:
We need a council that understands and prioritises our town’s part in tackling the global issue of the climate crisis, and demonstrates this through actions.
We need a council that represents its constituents and not private corporations.
The Harrogate Borough Council Woodland Action Plan commits: ‘to conserve, maintain, restore and enhance woodland.’
HBC approved their Carbon Reduction Strategy in April 2018, one year AFTER giving Danone outline planning, demonstrating a change of priorities. Times have changed. Within this strategy, HBC state that ‘the effects of climate change are being felt in the UK and abroad.’ They acknowledge the threat and the need to address this now, going on to say that they are committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2038.
But it is not climate change: change suggests time. Leading climate scientists have estimated a 7-11 year window for us to change, in which beyond this, any efforts will be ineffective as we will likely have pushed the biosphere past resistance and resilience. HBC must act now. They could do something in the present that would get them closer to their Carbon zero goals. They could save Rotary Wood and refuse Danone this extension.
To remove 16 years worth of carbon sequestration for the development of a water bottle plant that ships hundreds and thousands of bottles frequently around the world is the exact opposite to what our council should be doing. I
It would be a complete contradiction to both the Carbon Reduction Strategy and the Woodland Action Plan. It would demonstrate empty, meaningless words.
Our council refused the expansion on this. The reasons for refusal are still very relevant and due to no current compensation, more relevant. To acknowledge the climate crisis, plastic pollution, and the need for more habitats and refuse the extension, but to then allow this to go ahead, would make no sense at all.
We are in a climate crisis. We need action and we need it now.
If HBC are serious about any kind of real positive change, they must save Rotary Wood.
It’s not acceptable to put out these kinds of documents and then enable a private corporation to destroy community asset woodland during a climate crisis, with no mitigation and then say you’re not responsible for the companies’ actions.
HBC are morally responsible for perpetuating the climate crisis if they allow this development to go ahead.
Campaigner, Sarah Gibbs Said:
Will you help us save our community asset woodland by using your voice and objecting to Danone’s destruction?
Let’s call on our council yet again, to put planet before profit, cut pollution and save Rotary Wood.’
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