High Speed 2 Railway Line

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Shadow Lord President of the Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that High Speed Two will not affect the protection of woodlands.

Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Shadow Lord President of the Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent loss of ancient woodland as a result of High Speed Two.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

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.

The HS2 Woodland Fund has been established for Phase 1 to support the restoration of existing plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and the creation of new native woodland.

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.

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