Extension a ‘significant victory’ in fight to save ancient woodland
AN ENVIRONMENTAL group is celebrating after an announcement that areas of ancient woodland in Bucks could be saved from HS2.
The HS2 select committee of MPs, which has the power to recommend changes to the controversial rail line before it is built, last week announced that existing tunnel plans be extended to South Heath near to Great Missenden.
If this were to happen, it would mean that ancient woodland in Mantle’s Wood, Sibley’s Coppice and Farthings Wood would be saved from destruction.
When the news was announced, other campaigners hit out at the committee because it had rejected their proposals for a full tunnel underneath the entirety of the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty.
However, the Woodland Trust says the saving of the ancient woodland is a significant victory for wildlife campaigners in the Buckinghamshire area.
Nikki Williams, head of campaigning for the trust, said: “We have campaigned publicly, lobbied behind the scenes, submitted reams of evidence to HS2 Ltd and the committee and our senior conservation advisor Richard Barnes even joined the official bus tour with the HS2 select committee recently on a visit to the Chilterns.
“While it’s disappointing that the full Chilterns tunnel appears to have been discounted so early, the committee’s recognition of the need to at lease extend the tunnel far enough to save three ancient woods is hugely significant and a great relief.
“We urge HS2 Ltd now to gather what’s needed so that this amendment can be confirmed.”
She added: “There are still 59 more ancient woods in the firing line on phase one alone.
“We will continue to raise the need to avoid as many of these irreplaceable habitats as possible when we present our own evidence to the committee and hope it will realise more must be done.”
The woods which could be saved are home to
FIRING LINE: Mantles Wood in the Chilterns could now be saved if a planned tunnel extension get the go ahead wildlife including rare stag development. beetles, red kites, HS2 Ltd will now carry butterflies and a variety of out further work to assess plant life. the option recommended
Mantle’s Wood, near by the committee, and if it Amersham, is the largest is considered satisfactory, threatened area of ancient will lead to confirmation woodland on the first that the three woods are phase of the HS2 safe.