THREE ancient woodlands north of Eccleshall will face “significant loss or damage” if the HS2 project goes ahead, an environmental charity has warned.
Whitmore Wood would be directly affected by the high speed rail line, while Barhill Wood and Hey Sprink would face damage as they are very near to the proposed route, the Woodland Trust said.
In total 35 ancient woods would be affected by Phase Two of the high speed rail line, between Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds.
Of these, the trust said, 14 lie in the direct path of the route and are almost certain to suffer land take, while 21 are a short distance away and at significant risk not only from noise, pollution, shading and dust, but from additional loss when the construction boundaries, utilities works and other details are developed.
Oliver Newham, Woodland Trust Campaigner on HS2, said: “We have grave concerns about the impact HS2 will have on our natural environment and especially on irreplaceable ancient woodland. Our experience with Phase 1 of HS2 indicates that, once more detailed information emerges, the number of ancient woods to be affected is highly likely to increase. This loss of ancient woodland habitat will have a detrimental effect on the variety of wildlife in the area.
“The inconsistencies in this consultation are ominous and make it very difficult to establish a picture of the overall impact of Phase 2. We urge the Government and HS2 Ltd to think again and choose a route that does not destroy ancient woodland, in line with its own policy to ensure no further loss.”
The consulation on the current proposed HS2 route closes today (Friday January 31).