Ancient woodland destroyed by rubbish dumping
Billericay District Resident’s Association (BDRA) was alerted by its members, of the destruction of a large area of Barrenley’s Wood, an area managed by the ‘Skirmish’ paintball operation.
Barrenley’s Wood is an Ancient Woodland in Green Belt just east of Outwood Farm Road, Billericay. Around 5 acres (2 ha) of the wood has been lost due to the dumping of hardcore. BDRA has obtained photos of the dumped material which has been flattened and used as a car park. We estimate* that around 20,000 tons of hardcore has been dumped, equivalent in weight to the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible.
BDRA and others raised this with Basildon Council and we were disappointed by the initial lack of communication. We are grateful to local councillor (Billericay East Ward) Andrew Schrader for pursuing this on our behalf, and as a consequence, Planning Enforcement have visited the site and determined a course of action.
The tipping means that Basildon Council will hand over leadership of the case to Essex County Council, who will work with Basildon and the national Environment Agency to proceed with this case and a similar case in the countryside around Ramsden Bellhouse. We are anxious that the change of responsibility does not lead to a loss of momentum.
We would like to see an outcome which prevents further harm and leads to woodland cover being restored.
*2 hectares is 20,000 sq metres. The photograph shows a platform of up to 2 metres deep. An estimate of 20,000 cubic metres (tonnes) seems realistic.