Ancient woods ‘to be lost to rail link’
At least 21 ancient woods will be lost to accommodate the 140-mile high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham, it has been claimed.
The Woodland Trust, a conservation charity, warned that the scheme would either destroy or cause irrevocable damage to the sites, which contain treasured flora and fauna. At risk are woods which have provided a habitat for bluebells on the outskirts of London.
The destruction of Sheephouse Wood, near Twyford, Bucks, threatens the habitat of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies, the black hairstreak. Ancient woodland is defined as land that has been continually wooded since 1600. Half of it has disappeared since the 1930s.
According to the trust, a further 27 woods, which are within 200 metres of the proposed line, are likely to be severely damaged by the vibration from trains travelling at 250mph.
“The Government should not sacrifice the environment’s rarest habitats,” said the trust’s head of campaigning.
“Once destroyed, it cannot be recreated with new trees, so it is literally irreplaceable.”