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Brotherhood Woods injunction

Tuesday 19 September

High Court injunction protects ancient woodland

Swale Borough Council has successfully applied for a High Court injunction to prevent the destruction of ancient woodland near Dunkirk the trees of which are protected by a large group Tree Preservation Order.

The council applied for the injunction to protect the land in Brotherhood Woods after discovering a large area had been completely cleared of trees, foliage and brush.

Council officers, accompanied by the police, visited the site on 5 September after being alerted by Dunkirk Parish Council that unauthorised work was taking place.

They discovered large areas had been cleared and flattened by vehicles.

To prevent further work taking place, the council applied for an interim injunction from the High Court on 7 September, which was granted.

Having contacted the owner of the land, a full survey was carried out on Wednesday 13 September which found that 1.2 hectares of woodland had been cleared.

On 15 September, the council successfully applied for the injunction to continue until trial or further order.

Cllr Gerry Lewin, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for planning, said:

"This site is rare ancient woodland, which is protected in law and contains healthy maturing specimens which contribute significantly to the area’s biodiversity.

"Whilst a very large area has been damaged, thanks to the parish council’s awareness of the unauthorised clearance, we were able to act quickly to protect the rest of the woodland.

"The injunction protects the woodland from further work taking place, and I urge anyone who witnesses activity taking place on the site to report it to us as soon as possible."

Following the successful injunction application, the council is now considering what further legal action could be taken.