20th Jan, 2022

Eco campaigners' concerns over rare wildlife at Coventry's Piles Coppice Wood

ECO-CAMPAIGNERS have reiterated concerns that Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s sustainable woodland management plans for Piles Coppice Wood could destroy rare wildlife.

Conservationists say there is a record of willow tits, an endangered species, in the wood.

Conservationist and Tree Warden Ann Wilson from Stoke, Coventry, who posted the petition on change.org added the area was part of the ancient Forest of Arden, mentioned in the Domesday Book and praised by woodland expect Oliver Rackham.

Piles Coppice is covered by an important Tree Preservation Order and has 27 different types of tree including rare mature small-leaved limes, 137 different species of moths and over 100 plants.

Ann said she saw no clear reason for the felling proposals.

“Just because in its 1,000-year history it was once coppiced, it doesn’t mean it has to be coppiced now.

“The trees are still very healthy and most importantly, the wood is stable.

“Thanks to our MP, we managed to speak virtually to the Forestry Commission and are pleased it has massively reduced the original plans.”

She said she was told it was ‘minimum intervention’ but the definition as recommended by the Oxford Forestry Institute (OFI) meant just keeping paths clear.

“Any intervention will destroy the habitat these rare species depend on.”

A Warwickshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson said: “Whilst we appreciate concern from the local group, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s plans for management have been misunderstood and misrepresented.

“There is an unconfirmed record of willow tits at Piles Coppice, however the planned management at Piles Coppice will benefit such species as they prefer early stage woodland that is not over mature.

“It is vitally important to create new and open woodland and retain dead wood and rotting stumps which they breed in which is part of that project and we hope the efforts will see them return.

“Far from causing damage to the woodlands, our work will conserve and enhance key habitats and species, and with 15 per cent of all species in the UK facing threat of extinction it is imperative we act to stop and reverse that decline and bring wildlife back.”

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