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Woodland Trust response to draft HS2 Phase 2b Environmental Statement

The Woodland Trust has responded to today’s publication of the draft Environmental Statement for HS2 Phase 2b.

Woodland Trust ecologist Luci Ryan said:

“We were braced for bad news but this is far worse than we were expecting.  At least 19 ancient woods will be lost, almost double our estimate.

“The brutal destruction of at least 16.7 hectares of ancient woodland on Phase 2b will be catastrophic for the environment. This is significant permanent loss and the figure is only going to go up as HS2’s review of woods not listed on the Ancient Woodland Inventory progresses.  HS2 is continuing to ride roughshod over precious, irreplaceable centuries-old ancient woodland and in doing so the homes and populations of many wildlife species will be destroyed too.

“Ancient woods are home to many rare species that depend on this type of undisturbed, complex habitat.  It cannot be recreated and if lost, we lose the species that call it home.  Rare birds such as the lesser spotted woodpecker, the willow tit and the wood warbler, bats such as Bechstein’s and barbastelle, butterflies such as the purple hairstreak and silver-washed fritillary, as well as dormice, badgers and hedgehogs are all at risk.

Smoker Wood in Cheshire is one of many threatened by HS2 proposals (Photo: Adrian Ashworth Photography)
Smoker Wood in Cheshire is one of many threatened by HS2 proposals (Photo: Adrian Ashworth Photography)

“There are many species of plant and fungi that rely on ancient woodland’s unique and stable conditions as well. With just 2% of the UK covered by ancient woodland, any further destruction will cause serious loss of biodiversity.  No amount of tree planting can ever make up for the loss of this precious habitat.

“We are going to need some time to digest the full horror of the draft Environmental Statement but rest assured we will stand up and fight.

“Thanks to the dogged determination of our campaigners we’ve already helped to save over 14 hectares of ancient woodland on Phase 1 and 2a and we will be asking our army of supporters to add their voice to ours to affect change and stand up for woods and trees. “

Woods which will be destroyed by HS2 Phase 2b

  • Cheshire: Bull’s Wood, Winnington Wood, Leonard’s Wood and Smoker Wood (one site), Hancock’s Bank South, Brickhill Wood.
  • Greater Manchester: Coroner’s Wood, Davenport Green Wood.
  • Nottinghamshire: New Farm Wood, Watnall Coppice.
  • Derbyshire: Padley Wood, Owlcotes Wood, Robinson’s Lumb, High Wood, Nor Wood.
  • South Yorkshire: Hooton Cliff, Unnamed wood west of Barnburgh Cliff, Watchley Crag Wood, Nicker Wood.
  • West Yorkshire: Howell Wood.

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information contact Dee Smith on 01476 581121 or deesmith@woodlandtrust.org.uk

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.