TAUNTON'S MP has secured a government debate on the protection of Ancient Woodland.

Rebecca Pow MP, a former environment and gardening journalist, submitted a strong case before the Backbench Business Committee on Thursday, December 3 which was supported by more than 75 other members.

A discussion about what we can do to conserve our Ancient Woodland will be discussed in a three hour debate at Westminster Hall.

Unlike many other precious habitats ancient woodland is not a statutory designation in terms of the law and therefore suffer from a lack of protection.

The National Planning Policy Framework allows for the destruction or loss of ancient woodland if ‘the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweighs the losses’.

Rebecca is calling on the Government to close this loophole and to encourage more joined up thinking between DEFRA and DCLG to protect this precious resource.

Ms Pow said: "The ancient woodland in this country is our equivalent to the rainforests that are so coveted all over the world. It is an absolute travesty that only 2% remains and we must ensure that no more is lost, but with the Woodland Trust currently dealing with over 650 cases of threatened woodlands this issue is of the utmost importance.

"I am pleased that the backbench business committee has granted this debate and that we will be able to bring this issue to the forefront of people’s minds."