‘Green’ HS2 destroys ancient trees
The first phase of the HS2 route from London to Birmingham will have a “detrimental impact on ancient woodland”, according to a leading charity.
Three ancient trees, habitats in their own right, will be destroyed by the train line.
Woodland Trustsaid at least 21 ancient woods, covering a combined area of 409 hectares, will also suffer direct loss.
A further 12 are at risk from noise, vibration and further infrastructure such as roads.
The Government commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment, which it will consider before introducing the hybrid Bill in Parliament to authorise the London Birmingham phase of HS2. It is due for publication soon.
Woodland TrustChief Executive said:
"HS2's credibility as a 'green' transport measure is seriously compromised by the fact that the route will have a detrimental impact on ancient woodland.
“We expect the environmental statement to recognise each area of ancient woodland and to show that every possible strategy has been taken to minimise that impact.
"It must be understood that there can be no mitigation for ancient woodland loss - it is irreplaceable - and we also expect to see this acknowledged in the environmental statement.
“New planting, although vital to mitigate against the impact of HS2 itself, will never have the same biodiversity value as ancient woodland.”
Woodland Trustsaid ancient woodland is rare, irreplaceable and makes up one of our richest and most important natural habitats - 256 species of conservation concern are associated with it.
Just 2% of the UK is covered in ancient woodland and much of it is fragmented.
HS2’s supporters said it will deliver per passenger journey emissions reductions of over 70% and the full network will take 9.8 million journeys off the roads and 5.4 million from the air, reducing Britain’s carbon emissions and helping the country meet national and European reduction targets.
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