Councillors and Lichfield’s MP have joined protesters on a walk highlighting the impact of HS2 work in the area.

Campaigners with Michael Fabricant MP at Fradley Junction

The Stop Hs2 Staffordshire group travelled from Fradley Junction to nearby ancient woodland standing on the route of the high speed rail line.

They were joined by Cllr Richard Cox, Cllr Thomas Marshall and Michael Fabricant MP for the walk today (31st October).

The Conservative MP said:

“I wanted to show solidarity with the many people who care passionately about our Ancient Woodlands being forever destroyed by HS2.

“Over a hundred woodlands aged 400 years or older have been identified by the Woodland Trust facing destruction by HS2 – a line which might not even now be needed with the growing number of former commuters who will now work from home using video meetings technology.”

Michael Fabricant MP
A protester on the walk at Fradley Junction

Mr Fabricant said the damage would be felt along the entire route of the controversial line.

“More than 40 hectares of rare ancient woodland will be destroyed by HS2 in England and it cannot be replaced by new growth. 

“It takes 400 years to develop the soil environment of ancient woodland and is irreplaceable.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Luci Ryan, ecologist at the Woodland Trust, said the entire ecosystem of historic woodlands will be lost forever when the line is built.

“In phase one alone, some 98 beautiful, rare, irreplaceable ancient woods will be destroyed or damaged by this scheme – yhat’s 98 habitats and ecosystems that support a whole host of mammals, birds, invertebrates, fungi and plants.

“And once that ancient woodland is gone, it’s gone forever so while planting new trees is all well and good, it’s no substitute for what will be lost.

“Their plans – which let’s not forget are a condition of the scheme, not being delivered out of the goodness of their hearts – fall woefully short of replacing what will be lost on something being touted as a green infrastructure project.

“None of this new planting will replace the ancient woodland destroyed – and the £2million they are making available as part of the Woodland Fund will not replace the ancient woodland they are destroying there. 

“This is like smashing a Ming vase and replacing it with bargain basement crockery.”

Luci Ryan, Woodland Trust

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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11 Comments

  1. There are very few things I agree with Michael about.

    This is one. Such awful destruction, for a train line that did not make financial sense in Pre Covid-19 times.

    Since Covid-19, it makes even less sense, as work from home will become the norm, for many people.

  2. In less than a week the MP goes from supporting HS2 in the shape of re-opening the line between Lichfield and Burton – which is only possible due to the extra capacity granted to the West Mids as a direct result of HS2 – to joining protestors against HS2. Make up your mind Mr Fabricant. Do you want the benefit of HS2 or not? Or don’t you understand the irony?

  3. What a load of fact free rubbish. Luci Ryan should check the figures her employers own figures! Phase 1 is 46 ancient woodlands having just 57ha removed. That’s from a total of 52,000 ancient woodlands in this country and the tree loss is 0.0016%,yes that is sixteen ten thousandths of one percent! Maybe you could ask her how much is lost if the existing network was upgraded to provide the capacity needed to help modal shift away from polluting cars and HGV’s? Don’t expect an answer because it puts a big hole in their exaggerations.

  4. HS2 will be a great thing in the future and is needed for a modern train system. Most of the uk rail infrastructure is Victorian . At my age 63 i will probably not see the benefits but my grandchildren will lets not be a generation of nothings

  5. Fabricant has kicked back against the whip when voting for HS2, knowing full well the bill would win, thereby he gets to look good with his voting base in Lichfield and his party gets the result. “Win Win”.
    This is another pointless exercise, used as a “Look at me, I’m so green” photo opportunity.
    I feel sorry for the serious campaigners against HS2 and those fighting to save ancient woodlands.

  6. You beat me to it, @John Allen! Mr Fabricant is 70 years of age and has survived cancer, so I would expect him to exercise more caution. Of course wearing a mask is primarily to protect other people, and his ghastly voting record shows that he doesn’t care about that in the slightest. The next general election is scheduled for 2024, as we all know. The local Conservative Association need to ask themselves some serious questions about whether they really want this unpleasant, attention-seeking fool to still be ‘representing’, or rather embarrassing our lovely city at the age of 78 or 79.

  7. Not sure Mr Fabricant is any worse than any other MP, or just a product of our system of government. Let’s not pretend that we have a true democracy in this country. ‘From the people, by the people, for the people’ – our parliamentary system fails on all three counts. MPs represent their parties not the electorate, which is not how democracy is supposed to work, and the parties have people appointed to persuade, cajole and threaten MPs to toe the party line. One possible course could be proportional representation, but expecting the two parties with a stranglehold to vote for this would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.
    As for selfish people, well there are plenty of them. People attending raves and street parties (they were at it again at the weekend). People attending anti-lockdown protests en masse. People who horded food during the first lockdown. People who travelled long distances to beauty spots despite being asked not to. The list goes on. I can foresee a bigger battle to get compliance with measures to protect people’s lives this time around, as we also seem to be facing an epidemic of stupidity.

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