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Julia Bradbury slams plans to cut down community woodland to expand a water bottling plant 

‘It’s very frustrating and upsetting that this could be lost’: Julia Bradbury slams plans to cut down community woodland to expand a water bottling plant

Television presenter Julia Bradbury has slammed plans to cut down a community woodland planted by children to expand a nearby plastic bottle water plant.

Former Countryfile presenter Julia, 50 has waded into the row over the future of popular Rotary Wood in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, claiming that it is vital because of the pandemic, which has made getting outdoors more important than ever.

Rotary Wood was planted by local children and their parents between 2005 and 2011 and hosts a variety of wildlife including wild orchids. It sits alongside Harrogate’s lush Pinewoods forest.

Not happy: Julia Bradbury has slammed plans to cut down a community woodland planted by children to expand a nearby plastic bottle water plant

Under the controversial plans, more than half of the four-acre woodland would be cut down to make way for a planned bottling facility for Harrogate Spring Water, one of the country’s leading mineral water companies.

Julia told MailOnline: ‘Having access to open spaces because of the pandemic has taught us how important they are. They are crucial to our mental and physical health and it’s very frustrating and upsetting that this woodland could be lost.

‘We are always being told to embrace open spaces and do our bit to maintain and develop them. But now a plastic bottle plant could be built over this woodland and for me, that jars.’

Julia is currently presenting an eight-part show on ITV exploring parts of the West Country on foot.

Opinion: Julia, 50 has waded into the row over the future of popular Rotary Wood in Harrogate, North Yorkshire claiming that it is vital because of the pandemic

Opinion: Julia, 50 has waded into the row over the future of popular Rotary Wood in Harrogate, North Yorkshire claiming that it is vital because of the pandemic

She added: ‘I have walked in Yorkshire and I have planted a lot of trees all over the country and been involved in initiatives like Rotary Wood.

‘If this plan goes ahead there’s a real danger that trust could be broken and people might think what is the point of being involved in woodland like this because we’re only going to lose it?’

Julia has written to councillors at Harrogate Council urging them to reject the planning application, arguing that it would be ‘morally and financially wrong’ to chop down the woodland.

She adds: ‘The community needs and deserves access to this much-loved green space on a local scale and plastic is a major pollution problem that needs tackling on a global scale.’

Plans: Under the controversial plans, more than half of the four-acre woodland would be cut down to make way for a planned bottling facility for Harrogate Spring Water

Plans: Under the controversial plans, more than half of the four-acre woodland would be cut down to make way for a planned bottling facility for Harrogate Spring Water

Harrogate Spring Water is co-owned by French food conglomerate Danone.

To compensate for cutting down a large part of Rotary Wood, the two companies have offered to replant the trees lost on another site in Harrogate.

Rob Pickering, a senior representative for Harrogate Spring Water told media: ‘It is important to say that we are committed to replacing the trees that we remove on a minimum two for one basis and to looking after these trees for a minimum of 30 years.’

Julia said: 'Having access to open spaces because of the pandemic has taught us how important they are. They are crucial to our mental and physical health' (pictured in 2019)

Julia said: ‘Having access to open spaces because of the pandemic has taught us how important they are. They are crucial to our mental and physical health’ (pictured in 2019)

Harrogate Spring Water and Danone have also revealed that the replacement trees would be planted on a site close to Rotary Wood and that the remaining part of the wood that will not be lost to its expanded bottling plant would be open to the public.

It has also vowed to improve ‘biodiversity’ and ‘accessibility’ to the woodland.

Harrogate councillors are due to make decision on the planning application Thursday.

She added: 'If this plan goes ahead there's a real danger that trust could be broken and people might think what is the point of being involved in woodland like this because we're only going to lose it?' (pictured in January 2020)

She added: ‘If this plan goes ahead there’s a real danger that trust could be broken and people might think what is the point of being involved in woodland like this because we’re only going to lose it?’ (pictured in January 2020)

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