THE owner of a forest containing ancient woodland has had planning permission for new logging tracks turned down.

Carmarthenshire Council has told the applicant he has not provided enough evidence to prove that the tracks – plus existing ones that have been cleared and scraped – were required for a sustainably-managed forestry.

Applicant Benjamin Hewett said in his application that stone from the Coed Brist forestry, near St Clears, would be used for the new tracks, avoiding the need for any matertial to be imported.

Welsh environment body and statutory consultee Natural Resources Wales (NRW) did not object, subject to various requirements.

In a letter to the council NRW said the six-hectare forest included areas of restored ancient woodland and ancient semi-natural woodland and the proposed tracks would go through parts of the former.

NRW anticipated that some trees would need to be felled to accommodate the new tracks and advised the council to consider Welsh Government policy on ancient woodland.

Refusing the application, council officers said it contravened several planning policies.

The officer report said of Indonesia-based Mr Hewett’s application: “Limited information has been provided that would indicate that the tracks, which are considered extensive in terms of their scale, are or would be required in connection with a commercial forestry operation that is being managed in a sustainable way.

“Similarly, no information has been provided to demonstrate that there are no adverse impacts upon biodiversity, the ancient woodland, the landscape and highways safety.”

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