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Latest news update (23 January 2020):

MSA Extra have withdrawn their application to develop a major motorway service area on Smithy Wood, a semi-natural ancient woodland and Local Wildlife Site near J35 of the M1.

This is fantastic news for the campaign – but it is not the end. For Smithy Wood to be saved, we now ask the landowner St Pauls to work with us so we can secure the woodland for future generations to enjoy. Click here to read our news update about this.

You can help support our work to save special places for nature like Smithy Wood by making a donation to our Campaign Fund.

Read more about the background of Smithy Wood.

Bluebells by Rob Miller

The Issue

Smithy Wood is designated on Natural England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory.

Ancient woodland is of national importance and recognised as an irreplaceable habitat.

Smithy Wood is also designated as a Local Wildlife Site and sits within the Green Belt.

Bluebells around an ancient tree in Smithy Wood

Our position

We strongly object to the outline planning application for the following reasons:

  1. Smithy Wood is designated on Natural England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory. Ancient woodland is of national importance and recognised as an irreplaceable habitat. Smithy Wood is also designated as a Local Wildlife Site and sits within the Green Belt. From information in the planning application we firmly believe that the scale, nature and location of the proposal will serve to cause extensive and irreversible loss of a major part of the ancient woodland area (and residual damage to the remnant) and loss of much of the Local Wildlife Site.
  2. The gradual loss of smaller sites such as Smithy Wood adds up over time to a significant loss in woodland to Sheffield – something that is special and unique about the city.
  3. The Sheffield City Council Development Plan and Core Strategy has recognised the importance of such sites through a number of policies including Ecological Networks and we believe these planning policies should be upheld.
  4. The application fails against National Planning Policy Framework tests

Smithy Woods Updates

Dr Nicky Rivers campaigned hard to save Smithy Wood

What we have done and will do

  • In November 2019 we organised the event Irreplaceable: An Evening of Trees with author Julian Hoffman and Sheffield Tree Action Groups
  • In October 2019 our CEO Liz Ballard featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary M1 Symphony talking about Smithy Wood
  • In May 2019 we published a press release about the carpet of bluebells at the site – an indicator species of ancient woodland – and reiterated our opposition to the planning application.
  • Commented on and continued to monitor progress of the planning application for an alternative motorway service station at Junction 33 of the M1
  • Held a public rally outside Sheffield Town Hall with over 300 attendees in March 2017
  • Commented on the pre-application consultation
  • Met the applicant’s ecologists on site to hear about their proposals and the reasons for their approach
  • Met the applicant to discuss the proposal and the mitigation package. This was with the aim of securing an improved compensation package for the loss of biodiversity and access to green space for local people should our objection to the application fail.
  • Liaised with local wildlife and planning experts from across the city to co-ordinate and submit a detailed objection to the planning application. This was followed by additional comments as the applicants provided more information.

What you can do to help

Write to your MP

Contact your MP about this and ask what they will do to help.

Donate to our appeal

Support our appeal for funds to vaccinate badgers in Sheffield