Almost 70,000 trees could be lost to plans to build 4,000 homes near Grantham, the Woodland Trust has said.
More than 1,600 people have signed a petition by the trust against plans by Homes England and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to build on the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks site, which will also include eight hectares of “employment use”.
The trees were planted almost a decade ago by school children, local people and soldiers to celebrate the Queen’s 60th Jubilee.
A statement on the trust’s website said: “We are deeply frustrated to see that Homes England’s revised plans have got worse, not better, in terms of woodland impact.
“The most recent masterplan indicates that 80% of the woodland on site would be lost. This equates to just under 60 ha or 67,000 trees.
“Having planted this woodland area with the local community and trust staff, we consider that it is a travesty that we are now facing the prospect of most of these trees being cut down less than a decade after they were planted.”
Homes England said the plans will include a new village hub, with retail, community and commercial facilities, “extensive parkland and woodland areas”, new schools and improved pedestrian and cycling links.
It has acknowledged a “significant number of existing smaller trees within the extensive plantation area on the airfield would need to be removed to accommodate the proposal.”
However, on its website it said: “Where possible, these trees would be incorporated into the new open spaces and we are working with the Woodland Trust to make this a community with woodland and open space at its heart.
“We intend that all homes would be close to areas of woodland and tree planting, including tree lined streets and schools incorporating ‘Forest Schools’ principles.
“Other areas of woodland and biodiverse habitats would be created as part of the development, and these new habitats would be more valuable to native species and would be of benefit to the natural environment.”
A virtual consultation, held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to end on Friday, June 25. People can find out more information and take part here.