Plans for HS2 set to destroy ancient woodland

By Amber Kane

Boris Johnson confirms plans for HS2 will go ahead in a bid to improve transport for the North South connection in the U.K. 

The aim is to improve the connection by delivering shorter journey times in trains that can hold higher capacities of commuters. 

The Prime Minister has committed to improving Northern rail to maximise the benefits of public transport and the investment it has received through his integrated plan. 

Phase one set to begin in April 2020.

This plan however, does not come without concern. 

The route for HS2’s lines runs along ancient woodlands that are now marked for total or partial destruction with others set to face damage from pollution, light and noise vibrations. 

With the plans being finalised, and Boris Johnson backing the motion, it is becoming harder and harder to step in the way to protect the woodlands and all of the life that exists within them.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity within the U.K. and has been campaigning to protect the environment that HS2 is set to soon destroy. 

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust, said: “HS2 will shoot a poisoned arrow through the heart of our ancient woods and their wildlife, becoming a permanent reminder of backward environmental thinking.”

With phase one plans due to begin this spring, this is a crucial time for wildlife and the surrounding habitat.

Adam continues, “Right now ancient woodlands in the line of HS2 are about to burst into life. Bluebells are emerging and birds are starting to build nests. It’s now too close to spring to be doing preparatory work for HS2 in these woodlands, which need to wait until much later in the year to comply with guidance. It is unclear how HS2 are proposing to handle this.”

The announcement sends shocks of worry to environmentalists and conservationists as their concern about the irreversible destruction of these ancient habitats is not taken into consideration by government officials pushing these plans into fruition. 

Adam stressed, “Future generations won’t forget the disregard shown for the environmental costs of HS2, especially at a time when recognition has never been greater of the need to protect the environment in the face of the climate and nature emergency.” 

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