Our trees and woods are facing a lot of transport-related challenges at the moment, with the Thames crossing, a Welsh motorway extension and the disastrous HS2 route. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve made progress in Derby and celebrated with our fantastic volunteers this month too.
Recognising our amazing volunteer network
First of all we want to say huge congratulations to our fabulous woods under threat detectors. At the Trust’s annual volunteer awards in November, the group of 80 won the Hawthorn Award for best volunteer network. It’s very much deserved – we couldn’t protect our ancient woods and trees without them.
Trouble on the Thames
The Lower Thames Crossing consultation is out – and it doesn’t look good. Way back in 2016 we campaigned against Highways England’s route options. It has now opened a second consultation, this time on the chosen route. The exact level of damage is so far unclear but our assessment shows:
eight areas of ancient woodland threatened by direct damage and loss. Three of these are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
five more ancient woods face deterioration from indirect damage.
10 veteran trees are within the development boundary and so under threat of damage or loss.
We’re asking Highways England to step up and listen to concerns for the ancient woods and veteran trees of Essex and Kent. You can help by responding to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation.
Veteran oak protected in Derby
During November we wrote to Highways England about the A38 junction improvement works near Derby, which look set to threaten a veteran oak. After discussion, we’ve persuaded them to extend the root protection area around the tree from 12 times the tree’s diameter to 15 times, in line with Natural England’s Standing Advice.
Our M4 relief route campaign
The second largest infrastructure project we’re responding to is in Wales. We are campaigning against the proposed M4 relief road route which threatens yet more of our precious and irreplaceable ancient woodland. Add your voice to the M4 campaign by writing to Assembly Members.
Hope for the HS2 route?
Finally, up and down the UK, you’ve been adding your names to our HS2 campaign. It’s by far our biggest individual threat case and now has more than 24,000 responses.That’s the most ever for a woods under threat campaign! The thought of 108 ancient woods being damaged or destroyed by the route has spurred many of you into action – thank you.