We are pleased that the Government has today confirmed that work in all ancient woods will be deferred until the completion of its review of HS2, at least.

Director of Conservation and External Affairs at the Woodland Trust Abi Bunker said:

“This is the right decision but it has come very late in the day and only after much pressure from the Woodland Trust and many other organisations and individuals.

“We remain concerned about the fact that HS2 will still be carrying out some work at these sites. The richness of ancient woodland isn’t just about trees. It’s also the vegetation, the soils and the wildlife that makes ancient woodland a special irreplaceable habitat. Work that permanently affects these habitats like clearing vegetation and evicting bats and mammals must be stopped too while the review is completed.

“We will monitor the situation very closely.”

Oakervee review

It is vital that the Oakervee review is robust, independent, and evidence-based, focusing on the true environmental costs of HS2.

We will continue to put pressure on Government to ensure this is the case and that any long-term decisions about HS2 take all of the latest evidence into account.

–ENDS–

Notes to editors

For media queries only please contact Dee Smith on 01476 581121 or 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 28,700 hectares. Access to its woods is free.