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28 January 2013
With the release of the proposed Phase 2 route for the Government's High Speed Two project today, the Woodland Trust is now thoroughly investigating the impact this route will have on ancient woodland.
Phase 1 of the route will damage or destroy 21 ancient woods and Phase 2 will undoubtedly add to this number.
Sue Holden, Woodland Trust Chief Executive:
"Transport that destroys ancient woodland cannot be called 'green'. This irreplaceable habitat covers just 2% of the UK. The unique, undisturbed soils and ecosystems found in ancient woodland form our richest land habitat and support a host of rare, protected and threatened wildlife - species that are slow to react to change, find it difficult to adapt, and are not mobile enough to move to other locations to survive. Ancient woodland can never be replaced, translocated or recreated through new planting.
"The Woodland Trust continues to oppose any destruction of ancient woodland and will lobby to ensure its loss is minimised and that woods and trees are central to the mitigation proposals published in the formal consultation expected later this year. We are prepared to fight for alternative routes to be considered that lessen the impact on ancient woodland."
The Woodland Trust will release further details of the impact the proposed route for phase 2 will have on ancient woodland in due course when its investigation is complete.
High Speed Two
The current proposed route from London to Birmingham would cause direct loss or damage to a minimum of 21 ancient woods. A further 27 ancient woods are also likely to suffer significant damage.
Ancient Woodland is land that has been continuously wooded since 1600. It supports some 232 species outlined in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, 1994. Once destroyed, ancient woodland can not be replaced, nor can it be translocated as has been suggested by HS2 Ltd as part of the mitigation.