At least 108 ancient woods in England are threatened by proposals to build a high speed train link (HS2) across the country, with phase one already underway.
These woods are crucial spots for biodiversity, because the trees are hundreds of years old and have therefore become important habitats for rare invertebrates, as well as bats and birds. The woodlands also absorb carbon from the atmosphere, playing a part in combating global warming. HS2 is currently under review as the government decides whether to continue the costly and environmentally destructive project – but work is still continuing on preparing its route.
Mark Keir, an organiser for Stop-HS2 said, “HS2 is ripping up a vast area of ancient woodland and there’s going to be such an incredible loss of biodiversity.
“We have 2,400 species in this area, we have otters, water voles, eels, glow worms, barn owls, tawny owls, little owls, kestrel, kite, buzzard, sparrowhawk, peregrines. There are 120 species of bird that nest in the trees and it’s the most biodiverse area of London; we can’t afford to lose it.
“It’s a meeting between middle England and Extinction Rebellion, what Extinction Rebellion has done really well is bring middle England into the fray. We’ve made middle England active and not before time.
“We are the lungs of London and the water supply of London, we can’t throw it away.
“Every ancient tree that gets cut down, a 900 year old tree has 900 years worth of biodiversity in it. If you plant a new tree now, it’ll take 900 years to get anywhere near that.”
Chris Packham, from BBC’s Springwatch programme, will be joining the protesters at a demonstration at Euston Station on 28th September.
A list of ancient woods in England can be found in Wikipedia: