- This consultation has completed. It ran from Friday 12th June 2020 to Friday 12th June 2020
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Details of the representation
This is a brief letter in support of the above and also is a commendation of Luke Johnson, of Heath Farm, Smalldale, Derbyshire, (SK17 8EB) who is known to me in my capacity as Woodlands Manager for the Peak District National Park Authority. I first encountered Luke through his bidding for a standing thinning sale of PDNPA timber in 2019, then for his subsequent groundwork in surfacing entrance and log collection areas for the winning bidder.
Luke is a serious, practical, young farmer who is, of necessity, versatile in his talents. He is highly regarded by others in the field of forestry as a reliable customer and a useful operator of tractors, diggers, etc. for a variety of work, including stone surfacing.
The supply of suitable firewood - of the right moisture content - in the countryside is every bit as wholesome and necessary as farming for mutton/lamb/wool/beef, etc. Indeed, firewood production is soon to be regulated by law. Considerable covered space is needed to store, process, then season green wood before it is suitable for further storage and dispatch, before burning in domestic hearths or wood-stoves.
In NPA terms, meat/animal products can be viewed as by-products of, for example, wildflower conservation. Similarly, firewood can be viewed as a by-product of woodland conservation. Both agricultural produce and wood products are essential parts of the rural economy and the Statutory Duty of any NPA is to foster the social & economic well-being of National Park communities. As such, Luke’s family firewood business is beneficial to local communities and is in keeping with the legally established aims (Purposes & Duty) of the Peak District National Park.
A number of farmers within a three-mile radius of my own home in the Peak Park do, actually, buy, process and sell round-wood for firewood, as well as grazing livestock. Mr. Johnson is not, in my opinion, doing anything out of the ordinary by diversifying in this way: indeed, he is providing much-needed, sustainably harvested, natural, renewable wood fuel for heating and cooking.
Hence, I respectfully ask you to approve the application.