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Campaigners still fighting brook restoration plans
CAMPAIGNERS have again challenged controversial work to re-route a brook in a well-known Forest beauty spot.
Members of the Friends of Latchmore went to the Verderers’ Court to challenge the Forestry Commission’s plans to carry out what they call “extensive and damaging work” on the Latchmore Brook, near Fordingbridge .
Commoner Ailsa Farrand told the court unacceptable damage has already been done, that the commission has cut down a large number of trees, destroying the nesting sites of birds, and removing natural habitat.
Chartered engineer Dai Morgan urged the Forestry Commission to take advantage of the postponement of the work due to heavy rain, and to re-examine the network of tributaries that feed into Latchmore.
He said Latchmore is fed by about 20 tributaries upstream, many of which were man-made to drain the land for trees, and allow wood to be cut and brought out of the Forest.
The channels in the inclosures cause the brook to flood quickly every time it rains heavily, he said, and reduce the area’s ability to hold water and release it slowly during long periods without rain.
Another Friends member Michael Mayes told Verderers the new meandering route would only have a capacity of about 15 per cent of the existing channel, and that heavy rains would result in hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of water flooding the ground outside the Alderhill Inclosure. He said this would produce depths of water on the Latchmore Brook not seen for 50 years or more.
The large quantities of water would then have to re-enter the channel near Ogdens causing increased flooding at this point.
Friends chairman Professor John Shepherd said: “It is ironic that a project designed to make the stream flood more frequently should be delayed because it is flooding too much.
“However, this gives the Forestry Commission and its partners more time to do a proper assessment of both the likely damage and the possible benefits of the project.
“We believe that they should do that before trying to start work on the mires at Thompson’s Castle too.
In any case it would be madness to try to move heavy machinery into these areas with the ground saturated as it is this year.”