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In another travel-themed update, we have news this month on road, rail and airport projects. In London, Harrogate, Oxford and Cambridge, we continue the fight to save ancient woods and trees from damage and destruction. Find out how you can help.

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway threatens at least 12 ancient woods

The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge is part of their historic culture – the famous Boat Race dates back to 1829. But there’s something older than the race that separates the university towns: trees.

Huge numbers of ancient woods and ancient and veteran trees lie between Oxford and Cambridge. They’re part of our natural heritage and essential irreplaceable habitat. But they’re under threat from the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway - a major development project that’s set to hammer out:

  • a dual carriageway
  • a new railway
  • a million new homes.

We face two initial challenges from this project

Firstly, we don’t yet know the exact route options for road or rail. EastWest Rail Limited (EWR) is responsible for the rail section. They have refused to share information on the proposed routes with us unless we sign a non-disclosure agreement. This despite asking for the public’s view!

3,300 of you joined us in telling them that this was not acceptable. We all need to be properly informed in order to respond.

The other issue is that we don’t know where all the ancient woods and trees are. There could be hundreds of ancient and veteran trees unmapped in this area. We can’t protect the trees if we don’t know where they are.

We’re now waiting for more details of the project, but you can still help. Record any ancient and veteran trees between Oxford and Cambridge on the ancient tree inventory. The more that we know about, the stronger our case will be when the next phase of consultation begins.

Yorkshire town stands up for trees

In a bid to ease Harrogate’s traffic issues, North Yorks County Council ran a congestion consultation, which included a relief road option. But the road would cut through the middle of our much loved site, Bilton Beck and Rudding Bottoms, which forms part of the wider Nidd Gorge valley.

More than 4,700 Woodland Trust supporters and the local community stepped up for woods and trees. They told the council that fragmenting the local woodland and surrounding natural habitats is not an option.

Over 200 people joined us on 6 July to walk through the site and demonstrate how much the community loves this amazing woodland. Thank you to everyone who joined us and responded to the consultation – your support is invaluable. We’ll keep you posted on progress.

Update on Gatwick airport expansion

On 18 July, Gatwick Airport released its final master plan for the long term development of the airport. We highlighted several concerns in our response to the draft plan for the airport during the 12 week consultation period from October 2018.

But Gatwick has decided to continue ‘safeguarding’ - or in our words ‘earmarking’ - ancient woodland for future development. This is a huge disappointment. For now, there are no immediate plans, but ancient woodland is irreplaceable. It should never be destroyed. You can be sure we’ll keep a close eye on this ‘safeguarded land’. 

Fight for ancient woodland

Dark, black and white photo of Whitmore Woods

Protecting trees and woods

HS2 rail link

HS2 is the single biggest threat to the UK’s ancient woods, with 108 at risk of loss or damage. We can’t let this happen. 

Join the fight