Letter: Butterflies and woods worth preserving

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The Independent Online
The battle to save Oxleas Wood is, for now, apparently won ('Road plans threatened as wood is reprieved', 8 July). The fact that the Government is making a U-turn at this particular stage in the campaign to avert the destruction of this ancient woodland is significant. It demonstrates how policy-making in relation to environmental concerns has failed to take account of deep public concern over the continuing destruction of the countryside.

The Independent piece wrongly points to declining public interest in environmental issues. Only last November, one opinion poll reported that 85 per cent of people in Europe - 11 per cent up on 1988 - believed protecting the environment was 'an immediate and urgent problem'. The fact that the unique Oxleas Alliance, formed just two months ago, has managed to demonstrate the depth of public outrage over these lunatic proposals, is a measure of the poor judgement exercised by government.

We firmly believe that the strength of the campaign to save the wood is a manifestation of a much deeper dissatisfaction with the way in which quality of life is automatically put below pouring concrete as a priority of our society. Friends of the Earth will continue to press for policies that emphasise conservation over concrete and believe that public opinion is firmly behind us.

Yours faithfully,

CHARLES SECRETT

Executive Director

Friends of the Earth

London, N1

8 July

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