Protecting trees and woods
HS2 community resources
Take a look through our downloads to get up to speed with the effects of HS2.
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.
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.
Despite a lengthy review process, Government announced on 11 February 2020 that the project will still go ahead.
Phase 1 of HS2 will link London and Birmingham. 32 ancient woods will be directly affected. A further 29 will suffer secondary effects such as disturbance, noise and pollution.
We campaigned, lobbied and petitioned Government about this phase’s impact. We argued that HS2 should first avoid and, if not possible, minimise damage to ancient woods and trees, and the species dependent on them.
Enabling works are well underway on sections of Phase 1. HS2 Ltd. has to let the Trust know of any works proposed within 100m of ancient woodland.
However, if there are works happening near you that affect ancient woodland, you can let us know using our report a threat form.
Phase 2a runs from Lichfield to Crewe.
In May 2019, we appeared before the HS2 Select Committee at the House of Commons for a third time. We raised further concerns about proposed Phase 2a changes that impact ancient woodland.
These changes reduced the railway’s impact on Whitmore Wood, but only by 0.5ha. Whitmore Wood is still impacted by the single biggest loss of ancient woodland on the entire scheme - an enormous 5.5ha. A single tunnel in this area would remove this loss, but unfortunately the Select Committee has so far rejected this option.
The Trust will be appearing before the House of Lords in March 2020 on Phase 2a’s impact.
Phase 2b is in two parts. The western leg runs from Crewe to Manchester and the eastern leg runs from Lichfield to Leeds. At least 19 ancient woods are threatened with direct loss – and we expect that number to increase as more woodland is added to the Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI).
Another 11 ancient woods are subject to indirect damage.
Over 38,000 people responded to the draft Environmental Statement consultation in 2018, with a staggering 32,000 of these from the Woodland Trust’s campaign.
We're now waiting for a final Environmental Statement consultation. Once it's available, we'll let you know and help you to respond.
Though there's still a long way to go, our work has had real success, including:
But there is much left to do. HS2 remains the single biggest danger to our precious ancient woodland, a danger which, with your continuing support, we’ll keep fighting every step of the way.
While we are in favour of green transport and not against high speed rail projects in principle, we are strongly opposed to the HS2 route.
With at least 108 ancient woods being subject to damage and loss, we consider that the impact of the HS2 route on ancient woods and trees across the UK landscape is wholly unacceptable.
Any transport system that destroys irreplaceable habitats such as ancient woodland can never be called 'green'.