ACT NOW - HS2 rail link
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Right now, the biggest single threat from development to ancient woodland is the HS2 rail project. Up and down the country ancient woods and trees face the axe to make way for the high speed train line. Currently 98 ancient woods are threatened with loss or damage from both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project.
Phase 2a - Take action now
Our analysis shows 17 ancient woods will suffer loss or damage from just this small section of the scheme.
Over 10.5 hectares (26 acres) of irreplaceable ancient woodland will be lost, as well as 27 ancient and veteran trees.
The Trust is currently pushing for HS2 to adopt the single tunnel option for Phase 2a. This tunnel would stretch under both Whitmore Wood and Barhill Wood saving these ancient habitats from direct loss of 6 hectares and 0.4 hectares respectively.
We are presenting evidence to the HS2 Select Committee over the next few months including a push for the tunnel option and removal of temporary works from ancient woods along the route.
We still need our supporters to tell Government to do more to protect ancient woods and trees from development threats like this.
Phase 2b - Problems to come?
The preferred route for HS2 Phase 2b was announced by government in July 2017. This is the route from Birmingham to Leeds and also Crewe to Manchester. We can already see that this proposal will be a problem for ancient woods and trees. We expect at least ten ancient woods will suffer direct loss and a further eight will be so close they will suffer impact too (from noise, dust, lighting etc).
The draft environmental statement for Phase 2b is now likely to be consulted on in Autumn 2018.
Phase 1 - Latest happenings
Phase 1 of HS2 will link London and Birmingham. 36 ancient woods will be directly affected with a further 27 suffering secondary effects such as disturbance, noise and pollution.
The Woodland Trust campaigned, lobbied and petitioned government in relation to the impacts of this phase. We argued that HS2 should first avoid, and if not possible, minimise damage to ancient woods and trees, and the species dependent on them.
Our work had some key successes, including:
• Convincing MPs to support a tunnel extension in the Chilterns saving over 9 hectares of ancient woodland.
• Convincing HS2 Ltd to remove temporary works, such as construction compounds and stockpiles, from ancient woodland.
• Convincing HS2 Ltd to examine the impacts of the scheme on not just ancient woods, but also ancient and veteran trees and potential unmapped areas of ancient woodland.
• Saving 14 hectares of ancient woodland in total.