Posted 23rd Oct 2017 by Peter Byrne
An ancient oak tree, which is thought to be several hundred years old, is set to be another victim of HS2 - however, it's not being felled for the rail line, but instead for a mere access road which needs to be widened to ensure vehicles which are needed can help to construct the route
The 8.3m girthed 'Noddy's Tree' near Stockwell Heath in Staffordshire has been recorded on the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Inventory and is one of 27 which will be felled on the phase 2a route alone.
The conservation charity has just submitted its response to the route consultation, receiving over 15,000 objections which have been sent in by Woodland Trust supporters during the period.
As it stands, there are a number of decisions about housing and planning policy which are set to be made imminently - this could affect the future of hundreds of threatened ancient woods and trees, while the Trust is calling on the public to contact government ministers this autumn and demand increased protection.
Luci Ryan, Woodland Trust ecologist, commented: "It’s already unacceptable that the route itself is set to plough through irreplaceable ancient woods, but HS2 Ltd's failure to properly consider the destructive impact of a temporary access road looks thoughtless and unnecessary."
"Ancient trees like Noddy’s Tree have witnessed generations come and go, yet they appear to be totally expendable in the face of this development."
The Trust is continuing its campaign to save as many ancient woods and trees as possible on the entire HS2 route. So far, they have successfully convinced MPs to support a tunnel extension on the phase 1 route in the Chilterns, saving over 20 acres of ancient woodland in the process.
Details about the environmental impact of Phase 2a were released in the summer by the government. There are a proposed 40 miles of track between the West Midlands and Crewe, and of these, 17 ancient woods would suffer loss or damage covering the 26 acres.
Whitmore Wood in Staffordshire, known for its wildflowers such as bluebell, yellow archangel and wood sorrel, would see nearly 15 acres alone lost. This represents the most of any wood along the entire route.
Image courtesy of WTML/Jordan Fox Photography