An artist's impression of HS2

Lichfield’s MP has added his voice to criticism of HS2 Ltd over plans for work on areas of ancient woodland.

The high speed rail project, which will cut through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding areas, will see contractors begin preparation in Fulfen Wood near Lichfield in April.

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said HS2 Ltd were going against expert advice by carrying out the work now.

Michael Fabricant

“This wanton act of desecration will destroy at least an acre of ancient woodland which contains both common and soprano pipistrelles bats and occasional Myotis species. 

“Bat roosts within this wood will be lost to the scheme

“I agree with the Woodland Trust who say that HS2’s attempts to move the soil from five ancient woodlands during April is a ‘futile act’.

“The move goes against both conservation principles and guidance from Natural England. 

“Ancient woodland is at least 400 years old and which has remained undisturbed during that period.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Five ancient woodland sites will be impacted by HS2, with the other four being Broadwells Wood, Birches Wood, Crackley Wood, and Ashow Road in Warwickshire.

“It’s like getting a bike mechanic to service a Boeing”

HS2 – Fulfen Wood

Fulfen is a long strip of ancient woodland that runs perpendicular to an existing rail line. Unfortunately, access to the woodland was blocked on our recent attempt to visit the wood but we know that this woodland is used for foraging by bats. Almost half of this 1 hectare wood will be destroyed by HS2. Help us take action: http://www.woodlandtru.st/LkEse

Posted by The Woodland Trust on Saturday, 17 August 2019
Video from The Woodland Trust about Fulfen Wood

Woodland Trust ecologist Luci Ryan said: 

“Instead of bursting into life, these irreplaceable ancient woodlands now face imminent death.

“Attempting to move ancient woodland soils from one site to another is flawed. Attempting it in April doubly so.

“Add into the mix that the contractor doing it has never translocated ancient woodland nor visited a translocated site and it’s a recipe for disaster.

“It’s like getting a bike mechanic to service a Boeing.

“HS2 Ltd has admitted it is acting against industry standards by doing the work now, when ancient woodland is bursting into life.

“We are shocked at their approach. Protection of the environment continues to play second fiddle to costs and timetables.”

Luci Ryan, The Woodland Trust

The process of translocation of ancient woodland involves moving soils and sometimes coppiced tree stumps to another site in the hope some habitat is salvageable.

But Mr Fabricant said there was little evidence of the method proving successful elsewhere.

“If translocation is attempted it must be carried out in late autumn or early winter when plants are dormant.

“HS2 had previously agreed to do this, but now appears to have changed its mind due to costs increasing and timeframes slipping.

“I agree with the Woodland Trust. We want to see the work halted and carried out at the correct time of year – and preferably not at all.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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4 Comments

  1. Mr. Fabricant, if there is only one issue which I might agree with you about it is this one. For me the destruction of the ancient woodlands and the delicate ecosystem it has living within it especially at this time of year is completely unethical and so damaging to the environment that it counterbalances the benefits introduced by the move to an environmentally friendly electricity railway system. And who will be the beneficiaries of the latter anyway? Probably mere mortals will not be able to afford to use it given the current crisis for who knows when it will end. Most ordinary mortals are likely to be suffering penury for years to come. However someone or another is likely to be making a quick billion bucks or so I guess. Follow that money trail if you will.

    Furthermore those involved in the decision to undertake such a move indeed show how clueless they are. It demonstrates a lack of imagination, ideas, creativity and common good sense in not having been able to find a better way to resolve this problem. To my mind the measure of a man is demonstrated by how he solves a problem. I have found this to be true on more occasions than I can remember. This solution is just another example of idiosyncratic thinking. Indeed should the UK experience as much flooding or more in future as has happened recently the new railway system will most likely become waterlogged and unable to run anyway. By no means do I consider myself a Luddite. Merely a humble pleb who cares about the environment in which I live and future generations will hopefully be living. My mum often used to say “use your loaf”. If only those involved in this enterprise could sit down and rethink what they are perpetrating. Not good on you HS2.

    “These are the things that measure the worth
    Of a man as a man, regardless of birth”.

  2. Perhaps, JUST perhaps, HS2 might like to volunteer their services etc for free, just as the thousands of people are so doing for the NHS. And JUST perhaps Boris’ friend, whom he paid £1,5 million to for Internet services might like to refund the tax payers money. Now wouldn’t that be something. True Community Spirit in a time of crisis. True valour and sense of co-operation. Real “digging for victory”, digging out of their pockets. Real New World business to save the planet. Wouldn’t that inspire the Nation. Perhaps we could all CLAP them then too.

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