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Villagers campaign against quarry plans

PUBLISHED: 18:24 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 14:51 07 July 2010

Emma Knights

Villagers fighting to stop a Norfolk beauty spot being turned into a quarry and landfill site have been putting their best feet forward to highlight their campaign.

Villagers fighting to stop a Norfolk beauty spot being turned into a quarry and landfill site have been putting their best feet forward to highlight their campaign.

Dozens of people spent today walking through Bintree Woods, with people from Bintree, Billingford, North Elmham and County School all meeting up in the middle of the woodland.

They joined together to both celebrate the area and to demand that plans for it to become part of a gravel pit are scrapped.

The event was designed to coincide with the Center For International Forestry Research's second World Forest Day in Poznan, Poland, where forestry experts and officials have gathered to address the key issues surrounding forests and climate change.

Bintree Woods is one of a number sites being considered by Norfolk County Council for mineral extraction.

It is part of a 1.7 square mile area which it is estimated could yield more than five million tonnes of minerals over the next 60 years before being turned into landfill.

But people living nearby say Bintree Woods must be saved because is a popular area of woodland that is used by many people, and it plays an important role in helping to offset the county's carbon footprint.

Simon Gilbert, from County School, said: “Today was a celebration day for Bintree Woods because it is somewhere that is very well-loved and well used.

“We wanted to celebrate the woodland but also emphasise the importance of the area to those in the authority who will be making important decisions about its future.

“The woodland provides a very important habitat for birds and wildlife species and an open space for nearby communities.

“I often see barn owls in the woods as well as goshawks, deer, badgers, kingfishers, woodpeckers and other wildlife. It is a diverse habitat and it provides an important wildlife corridor.”

Chris Langford, chairman of Bintree Parish Council, said: “People from all around use Bintree Woods for their leisure, walking, cycling, jogging. The woods are here for the people of the nearby parishes and should not be used for mineral extraction.

“Also, we are all worried about our carbon footprint and here we have 120 hectares of woodland which compensates for the equivalent of 90 flights from Stansted to Edinburgh a year.”

Rupert Read, Green Party councillor for Norwich's Wensum ward, also joined the villagers on their walk.

He said: “It is obvious to anyone who knows these woods that they are a very special place and a wonderful resource for the local area and the whole of Norfolk.

“We need to preserve places like this and not just tear them up for short term financial gain. Forests and woods are the first line of protection against dangerous climate change.”

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