Genesis rock star Mike Rutherford backs campaign to save Loxwood woodland

Rock star Mike Rutherford - co-founder of the band Genesis - has thrown his weight behind a campaign to protect woodland in Loxwood.
Musician Mike RutherfordMusician Mike Rutherford
Musician Mike Rutherford

The singer-songwriter, who also formed the band Mike and the Mechanics, has lived in Loxwood for the past 40 years.

Now proposals to build a clay excavation site and landfill recycling plant in the village has prompted the guitarist to speak out about the ‘devastating impact’ the plans could have on the area.

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A company known as Loxwood Clay Pits wants to extract the clay for use in brick-making and also wants to build a construction materials recycling facility on the woodland site over a 33-year period.

Mike, who was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, said he feared the plans would “destroy the countryside and woodland.”

He added: “The change locally would be so incredibly bad that I think it’s important we try and stop it.”

The plans have met with huge local opposition, with campaigners arguing that the area is a greenfield site with established native woodland that provides an invaluable wildlife habitat.

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They have also raised concerns about the increase in lorry movements on a large number of rural roads if the proposals were to go ahead. Plans show two routes into and out of the site - on the old Pallinghurst Estate, north east of Loxwood and west of the A281.

Loxwood woodland. Photo: Mike BurnellLoxwood woodland. Photo: Mike Burnell
Loxwood woodland. Photo: Mike Burnell

An action group ‘Stop Loxwood Clay Pit’ has been formed to fight the proposals and an online protesty petition has been signed by more than 4,000 people.

The group has garnered support from those living in Loxwood as well as neighbouring villages of Alfold, Rudgwick and Wisborough Green, and set up a website

Environmental scientist Dr Jill Sutcliffe said: “This is an important area for wildlife and a biodiversity emergency was declared last year. We must look after what we have and encourage more wildlife, not remove habitat so we have less.”

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However Loxwood Clay Pits - which is seeking views before submitting a planning application to West Sussex County Council - says their proposals are ‘small’ and dismiss claims they would impact locals and wildlife.

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