Calls to rethink HS2 route or risk losing ‘irreplaceable’ woods

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: April 14, 2017


The Woodlands Trust is the latest organisation to slam the HS2 proposals to save ancient woodlands.

The Woodlands Trust is the latest organisation to slam the HS2 proposals to save ancient woodlands.

Analysis by the organisation for Phase 2a and 2b of HS2 shows that the northern section of the route will impact irreplaceable woodland areas.

Members are now calling on the high speed rail experts to rethink the proposals before these trees are lost forever.

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: “Any loss or damage to ancient woodland is a catastrophe for the natural environment, particularly when you consider how little we have l

“Just two per cent 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 will ever recreate ancient woodland.”

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 – 12 of these are also in Staffordshire.

On Phase 2 the Trust estimates that 11 woods are threatened with direct loss if the current proposed route goes ahead.

Many others are close enough to be threatened by damaging secondary effects including noise, dust and lighting.

A number of woods that could be ancient but do not yet appear on Natural England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory have also been identified along the route – some by HS2 Ltd, others by the Woodland Trust.

As evidence is gathered and the status of these woods is confirmed, it’s likely that the number of threatened ancient woods will increase.

The route of the high speed rail link is also expecting to rip through Kingsbury Water Park.

Last week the Herald reported that villagers were calling on an evacuation exercise to ensure their safety was being considered.

Carol Davies, who lives in Kingsbury, said: “Residents of Kingsbury need to be prepared. All of this proposed construction work will have a detrimental environmental effect together with a lessening of the existing safety of the village community.

“Lives will be put at risk if they are reduced and replacement roads should be built if they are blocked off.”