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A wildlife group has welcomed confirmation that work on an ancient woodland in Lichfield to make way for HS2 will not take place this Spring.
The controversial work would have seen soil relocation taking place in the Fulfen Wood area ahead of construction of the high speed rail line.
The move was criticised by Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant who said any hope of success for such a project to preserve ancient woodland would not work if carried out at this time of year.
The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust had warned that any work would be a disaster for nesting birds and other species if it was carried out in the Spring.
But the group says the work – which will also involve cutting down trees – the trust says it has now been confirmed that the work will not take place for the time being.
David Cadman, senior conservation manager for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said:
“We are glad common sense has prevailed and the work won’t be taking place at Fulfen Wood this Spring.
“Clearly, we would prefer if this work wasn’t taking place at all, but to move it to springtime would have been extremely detrimental to wildlife.
“HS2 originally committed to following best practice for woodland clearance and soil translocation, which should take place in autumn or winter when plants are dormant and birds are not nesting.
“The work would have completely gone against best practice and conservation principles and professional standards.
“With us being in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, we had also expressed deep concern about construction workers, police and protestors being put at risk if the work had gone ahead.
“We are continuing to call on the Government to address the issues of biodiversity loss and climate change as an immediate priority once we are on the other side of the coronavirus crisis.
“Now more than ever we need nature – and we are questioning whether we need this costly and unnecessary project at all.”David Cadman, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
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