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Ten ancient South Yorkshire woods ‘under threat from HS2’

Sites such as Smithy Wood could be under threat from HS2 route proposals

Sites such as Smithy Wood could be under threat from HS2 route proposals

Ten ancient woods in South Yorkshire are at risk from the Government’s high-speed rail plans for the region, environmental campaigners have warned.

The Woodland Trust has said prospective HS2 routes threaten a number of historic sites in the area.

It is now urging residents to write to their MPs as part of a campaign to ensure new railway tracks avoid such sites.

Various route options are currently under consideration, with a final announcement due early next year.

Officials from the Woodland Trust said the current options put 10 ancient woods are at risk.

They say Parkin Wood and three now distinct fragments of Smithy Wood, all near Chapeltown north of Sheffield, will be affected directly.

Sunny Bank Wood and Wombwell Wood, both near Barnsley, will also be at risk with a further four ancient woods facing damage as they are very near to the proposed route.

Smithy Wood is also facing a separate threat from plans to build an M1 service station at part of the site.

Oliver Newham, Woodland Trust senior campaigner, said: “Ancient woodland covers just two per cent of the UK and is widely acknowledged to be a nationally important, irreplaceable habitat.

“Each ancient wood is a unique product of its location, geology, soils, climate and history – conditions that can never be recreated with new planting.

“It’s important we keep reminding HS2 Ltd and the Government to truly think long term by giving full and proper consideration to the environment when planning HS2.

“Route changes like realignment and tunnelling have been made for economic reasons like avoiding businesses, so should be possible to protect irreplaceable habitats like ancient woodland.”

 

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