Local people often say Sheffield is a great place to live because of the amount of natural and green space that lies within the city and nearby.
But the recent planning application to develop a motorway service station on the ancient woodland site of Smithy Wood illustrates the constant threat to Sheffield’s green spaces.
Smithy Wood is one of more than 250 Local Wildlife Sites identified across the city.
This means it is considered to be important locally for wildlife but its very limited protection is mainly dependent on the council and the planning status of green belt and ancient woodland.
Some letters to this paper have said that ordinary people are powerless to stop developers building on green belt, but I do not think this is case.
The people of Sheffield can stand up for their local green spaces, their green belt, their local wildlife sites and ancient woodlands like Smithy Wood by writing in and objecting to planning applications and asking questions of their local councillors. If you value green spaces and wildlife stand up for it.
Chief executive, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust