More ancient woodland threatened By HS2

The Woodland Trust website has a long feature on how the second phase of HS2 threatens old woods in the north of England.

This begins:

“Our analysis of route proposals for Phase 2a and 2b of HS2 shows that the northern section of the route will impact a minimum of 24 irreplaceable ancient woods. Phase 1 of the controversial high speed line was granted Royal Assent in February with a final total of 63 ancient woods condemned to suffer loss or damage.

Eleven woods are threatened with direct loss and a further 13 are close enough to be threatened by damaging secondary effects including noise, dust and lighting. Examples include Hancock’s Bank near Altrincham, and Coroners Wood near Partington, both in Cheshire, New Farm Wood near Bulwell in Nottinghamshire and Whitmore Wood, Whitmore Heath in Staffordshire. All are carpeted with bluebells at this time of year.

The Trust’s CEO, Beccy Speight, said:

“Any loss or damage to ancient woodland is a disaster for the natural environment, particularly when you consider how little we have left.  Just 2% of the UK’s land area is made up of these precious and irreplaceable habitats, so for large infrastructure projects like HS2 to be riding roughshod over them, rather than setting an example to avoid them, is totally unacceptable.  With the trail of destruction HS2 Ltd will cause to ancient woodland, it will never be able to call this project ‘green’ – so far, it’s been an absolute disgrace.  HS2 Ltd will say it’s planting millions of trees along the route – that’s all well and good, but no amount of new trees can ever recreate ancient woodland.”

There have been some successes in the campaign to protect ancient woods from the railway, and the article provides details.

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