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HS2 green corridor nothing more than greenwash nonsense

HS2 has today launched plans for what it calls ‘an unprecedented green corridor’ stretching alongside the route of this destructive project.

But the Woodland Trust believes the only thing unprecedented about it is the amount of ancient woodland the railway will destroy.

The announcement includes the news that seven million trees will be planted along the line of phase 1 from London to Birmingham, and an additional £2m is being made available in the Woodland Fund to support the planting of trees along phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe.

More than 40 hectares of rare ancient woodland will be destroyed by HS2.

Whitmore Wood in Staffordshire will be destroyed under Phase 2a (Photo: Adrian Ashworth)
Whitmore Wood in Staffordshire will be destroyed under Phase 2a (Photo: Adrian Ashworth)

Luci Ryan, ecologist at the Woodland Trust said:

“This is utter greenwash nonsense from an organisation trying to pretend that HS2 isn’t the most environmentally destructive infrastructure project this country has seen in decades.

“Some 98 beautiful, rare, irreplaceable ancient woods will be destroyed or damaged by this scheme.

“That’s 98 habitats and ecosystems that support a whole host of mammals, birds, invertebrates, fungi and plants.

“And once that ancient woodland is gone, it’s gone forever so while planting new trees is all well and good, it’s no substitute for what will be lost. Their plans - which let’s not forget are a condition of the scheme, not being delivered out of the goodness of their hearts – fall woefully short of replacing what will be lost on something being touted as a green infrastructure project.

“None of this new planting will replace the 30ha of ancient woodland destroyed on phase 1, and the £2m they are making available on phase 2a as part of the Woodland Fund will not replace the 10.2ha of ancient woodland they are destroying there.

“This is like smashing a Ming vase and replacing it with bargain basement crockery.”

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Notes to editors:

Media queries only should be directed to Dee Smith in the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 or email deesmith@woodlandtrust.org.uk. Public enquiries should be directed to 0330 333 3300.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.