From the office of the South-East England’s Green MEP Caroline Lucas

For Immediate Release 



GREEN Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has given her support to a tree-top protest  that started on Sunday, 28 May 2006 to prevent the destruction of ancient woodland near Worthing, West Sussex.

Dr Lucas said Worthing Council, the landowners and the developers should sit down with local environmentalists are look again at plans to build almost 900 homes in West Durrington.

“The protest camp has struck a chord with nearby residents, who are fiercely opposed to the planned development and are frustrated at the lack of further official channels for fighting the proposals,” said Dr Lucas, Green Party MEP for South-East England.

“The popular support for the protest should ring an alarm with everyone involved in the project and prompt them to go back to the drawing board.”

The South-East England Green Party MEP made her comments as some 20 environmentalists celebrated nearly two weeks in a makeshift camp at Titnore Woods. The protestors, who have now constructed a network of treehouses and a kitchen – with plans for a second camp in hand – have been overwhelmed by support from nearby residents and sympathy from the local, national and even international media.

They are protesting against plans to build the ‘West Durrington development’, an 875-home estate which will destroy ancient woodland – including oaks and ashes – at Titnore Lane, West Durrington.

The proposed development was granted planning permission by Worthing Council – despite more than 4,000 local residents signing a petition – delivered by Dr Lucas – opposed to the plan.

Local environmentalists, who argue permission was granted on the basis of misleading information and in the face of water shortages and insufficient local infrastructure to support the estate’s projected population, decided to take to the trees after all ‘official’ channels for objection had been exhausted.

The council argues there is a need for new housing, but local Greens argue we should make better use of existing sites before building homes in the countryside – especially such an important site. Pressure group Community Action for Empty Homes reckons there are seven empty homes for every homeless household in the UK. Locals have argued there are more than 1,000 empty homes in nearby Worthing alone.

Titnore Woods are one of the final few remaining ancient woodlands in Sussex: one of only two surviving on the Sussex coastal plain and home to a number of protected species, including newts, bats, badgers, skylarks and corn buntings.

A 2005 report by The Woodland Trust and WWF revealed that more than 100 of the country’s most important ancient woods are facing destruction.

Dr Lucas added: “Over-development is one of the commonest causes of complaint I receive: people are sick of seeing acre after acre of countryside being lost to houses, roads and runways.

“Titnore Woods is a unique and important piece of countryside and it must be preserved for future generations.”


Notes to Editors:

For up-to-the-minute reports from the Titnore Woods tree camp see

For more information please contact Ben on 01273 671946, 07973 823358 or


The Following Message From Caroline Lucas MEP was read out to a packed meeting in support of the woodland protectors.

I am extremely proud to be Euro-MP for an region which is rich in wildlife
and biodiversity. Yet over the years this wealth has been threatened by
over-development  -much of it for housing so that people can move into the
region from London or elsewhere in the UK. Titnore Woods are one of the
final few remaining ancient woodlands in Sussex: one of only two surviving
on the Sussex coastal plain and home to a number of protected species,
including newts, bats, badgers, skylarks and corn buntings. It is outrageous
that future generations may be prevented from enjoying the tranquility of
the Titnore Wood  because of a housing development that will destroy the
woodland. I am sorry that I cannot be with you this evening but I am voting
at a European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.  I wanted to take this
opportunity to offer you my support and encouragement in your campaign. As
caring individuals, brought together by a desire to protect your
environment, you are incredibly powerful and I wish you the very best of


Thank You. 

The West Sussex GP would publicly like to express our grateful thanks to Hugo Charlton for his generous professional help in representing the Tree Top campers who are occupying Titnore woods near Worthing. Despite being on holiday Hugo agreed to take on this unique and challenging case in the High Court with only a few days to gather evidence and prepare.

Full background to the issue is at: but briefly involves a £3Billion Greenfield development that will devour ancient woodland, pre-history archaeology, prime farmland and destroy an ancient landscape. 

It will soon be the camps second birthday and the woodland protectors are still high up in their fortified tree houses defiant. They offer good company, food and a warm welcome to all those who would like to join them in this important campaign.