G7 Carbis Bay protest
As the UK is set to welcome world leaders, protestors believe ‘the woodland and unique ecosystem’ are being destroyed by the Carbis Bay Hotel. Photo: Jory Mundy

Hosted by the UK this year, the G7 summit will take place between June 11 and June 13 at Carbis Bay in Cornwall. 

As world leaders from some of the most influential countries are set to descend on the seaside resort for the G7 summit, the Carbis Bay Hotel is being condemned by local campaigners for cutting down trees, destroying woodland and ‘removing badger setts’—a claim the hotel vehemently denies.

Residents and local campaigners are calling on the hotel to stop the felling of trees and the destruction of local wildlife.

Penzance Socialists, a campaigning group based in Penzance that recently supported a youth-led climate justice protest, said: “We believe it is outrageous that the Carbis Bay Hotel is destroying woodland and removing badger setts, in order to build so-called ‘eco-lodges’ on their land without planning permission.

“The hypocrisy of the world leaders discussing the climate crisis in a so-called eco-hotel that is destroying woodland is staggering.

“The Carbis Bay Hotel thinks it can ignore planning laws because of the G7. We’re here to tell them they can’t and that they will be held to account for their actions.

“The action taken by the hotel is a microcosm of the reality facing Cornwall as it prepares to host the summit. Local people are being ignored, our voices are not being heard, and our movements are being restricted.

“We are joining protests every day of the summit to protest the G7, but also to protest the environmental damage done by both the hotel and the summit itself.”

Environmental campaigners have criticised the hotel, which takes pride in calling it one of the UK’s greenest destinations.

Speaking about the new development at the Carbis Bay Hotel, Lisa Arthur, 36, a Green Party campaigner from St Ives, said she was not sure why the trees were being chopped down. 

“A couple of days ago, I visited the venue of this year’s G7 summit, where they have felled yet more trees that are an intrinsic part of the woodland and unique ecosystem.

“There was certainly a planning application, which went in here a few years ago, that got declined.

“We have not yet seen any updated version of this application that shows that the work that is being done has been approved.

She continued: “We have been told that there could be some eco-lodges similar to the ones already on the beach,” adding that these are not the first trees to have been felled recently along the coastal path and that there are many more that were cut down.

“They keep harping on about their green credentialsthey say they use recycled paper, and if you visit their website, all they talk about is their green credentials.

“Old, mature trees are much more effective carbon sinks.

“You simply cannot replace those mature trees with young saplings because it would not have the same impact.”

She said it was a huge loss to lose unique ecosystems like this and called for clarity on the situation.

“At this point, we really need answers on this development. I would like the owners of the hotel to let us know what is going on.”

Explaining why the trees were removed, the Carbis Bay Hotel told The Independent that the investments in the estate in recent years have established Carbis Bay’s position as one of the UK’s greenest destinations.

They added that the work on clearing a small self-seeded scrubland area adjacent to the hotel started a few years ago and is part of longstanding improvements to the facilities at the Carbis Bay Estate. 

The hotel said there were no badger setts on the land, and the works currently underway would, in fact, support hosting the G7 summit. 

Radhika Khandke, spa manager at the Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, who has been in this industry since 1999, said: “We are very excited. It is an incredible opportunity for Cornwall to boost the economy. 

“We understand the backlash that is coming our way, but we endeavour to minimise our carbon footprint and constantly work towards becoming an environmentally sustainable hotel. In 2019, we were awarded the AA eco-hotel of the year. I would just add that we take our commitment towards the environment very seriously.