SOUTH Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson is backing a grant application from the Woodland Trust for the removal of Himalayan Balsam from Bunkers Hill Wood.

It follows a visit to the site near Stourbridge by the MP where he was told about the Trust's plan for the historic site.

They also want to start a public campaign to highlight the organisation's serious concerns relating to 444 ancient woods which are currently under threat from development across the UK.

As a result, the MP has written to Environment minister Owen Paterson supporting the Trust's fears.

The MP said: "Many of the trees at Bunkers Hill Wood are hundreds of years old. Once these areas of ancient woodland are developed, there is no way of getting them back."

The 102-acre site has only been open to the public since 1996 when it was purchased by the Woodland Trust thanks to help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As a result, Bunkers Hill Wood has proved hugely popular with people from Stourbridge and Dudley alike who have used it for community events.

Mr Williamson added: "There are so many people who go and enjoy Bunkers Hill Wood and it's vital that we protect this woodland."

At present, the Woodland Trust currently manage over a thousand sites - covering 50,000 acres in total.