New levels of environmental vandalism are occurring in one of our precious heritage sites in the Luddenden Valley. The latest assault on our green spaces is taking place in Jerusalem Farm by the ‘Safer, Cleaner, Greener’ group of Calderdale Council.
This site contains both a nature reserve and a campsite, and also now has a holiday let facility equipped to accommodate disabled people. There has always been an uneasy relationship between the requirement to accommodate campers, and the preservation of the precious amenity in the adjacent Wade Wood nature reserve. Risk averse council officials have made previous assaults on the reserve to cull many century old beeches in the name of health & safety, but were repulsed by appalled local groups. But the never-ending pursuit of H&S at great taxpayer expense, continues. Several beech have already been destroyed in the latest assault, by ‘de-limbing’ - leaving ugly 25 feet high stumps in some of the most visible parts of the reserve. Two landscape trees that stood at the entrance, have now been dismembered (see photos). These iconic trees were healthy and nowhere near their prime, but one overlooked the holiday let barn - a perceived risk by the H&S zealots - so both had to go. Correspondence and meetings with the Council officials about our concerns, both recent and long running, have met with a bland response. Felled trees are now being processed at a local sawmill and sold to provide an ‘income stream’ for the council. There is now therefore a financial incentive to fell as many trees as can conveniently be justified - not just in Jerusalem Farm but throughout Calderdale. According to Health & Safety Executive Sector Information Minute (SIM) ‘Management of Risks from Falling Trees’, statistics of tree related deaths in public spaces are so low (1:20,000,000) (HSE, 2007) that the risk could be considered insignificant.