The Government has a manifesto commitment to ensure stronger protection for our ancient woodlands, and the irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan. Defra and its statutory bodies are working closely with HS2 Ltd. and the Department for Transport to make sure that environmental impacts resulting from HS2, including protection of woodland and loss of ancient woodland, are considered and minimised.
Natural England and the Environment Agency have service level agreements with HS2 Ltd. to advise on the development of HS2, including on avoiding, as far as practicable, loss to ancient woodlands. Natural England has also provided information to help inform HS2 Ltd.’s Ancient Woodland Strategies.
Natural England is also working with HS2 Ltd to identify ancient woodland within HS2’s route corridor which is not on the Ancient Woodland Inventory. Natural England and HS2 work together to minimise impacts on ancient woodland and to maximise opportunities for compensatory measures during detailed design, where unavoidable loss occurs.