by Jamie Capstick
Environmental campaigners are making a last-ditch plea for support after a crucial meeting to Save Smithy Wood was postponed.
The planning committee meeting which could have seen plans for a motorway service station on the woods site has been moved to June, giving opposers to the scheme extra time to raise £25,000- the amount the Woodland Trusts say they need to keep the protests running.
The wood, situated on the outskirts Northern Sheffield town of Chapeltown has been mooted as the spot for a new service station built by Extra Motorway Services. It will include a 80-bed hotel and numerous restaurants.
It comes despite numerous protests and campaigns from Sheffield residents calling for the plans to be put to a halt due to its environmental costs.
Smithy Wood is considered one of Sheffield’s most ancient woodland, dating back 850 years. It is also considered a wildlife sanctuary, with flora, birds, bats, fungi and butterflies inhabiting it.
A Woodland Trust spokesman said that the woods were “irreplaceable”. They said that the money raised enables to pay the “people who provide the information which lets the campaign continue”.
Extra Motorway Services, the group behind the plans, state on their website that they “have undertaken extensive surveys” and “adopted an informed designed approach to minimise loss of Woodland”.
But Sheffield musician Nat Johnson said: “There is no justification to the plans”.
She said: “So much is lost when woodland is destroyed; the history of the place, the wildlife that live there, the opportunities such places provide for our wellbeing now and in the future”.
“A great deal of the UK’s ancient woodland has already been lost or damaged in the past century. We must care for and protect that which remains”.
Alongside a threat to the woods via the service station plans, there is also an HS2 risk on the site, with the proposed route cutting through part of the wood.
Anyone wishing to donate to the cause can visit here .