HS2 Ancient Woodland Programme
Works during the Oakervee Review Decision - October 2019
Background In August 2019, the Government launched an independent review, chaired by Douglas Oakervee, into whether and how to proceed with the High Speed 2 project.
In September 2019, the Secretary of State for Transport instructed HS2 Ltd “to consider what works affecting ancient woodland clearances can be delayed for the duration of the review. This ensures we avoid irreversible decisions without major impacts on cost and schedule”.
As highlighted by the Secretary of State, we must strike a sensible balance between keeping the programme on track and recognising that some works are irreversible. We therefore have been working with the Department for Transport and our contractors to assess our planned ancient woodland works. The decision making process has also involved discussions with relevant, specialist stakeholders, including Natural England.
Decision – ancient woodland programme Eleven ancient woodlands were due to be partially affected by preparations to build HS2 this Autumn. We have assessed these planned works, considering what the financial and programme related impacts would be if they were delayed, while consulting key stakeholders, including Natural England. The best practice approach for this type of work is to carry out tree felling in the Autumn, prior to bats roosting in the Winter and birds nesting in the Spring.
Taking the above factors into account, the decision has been taken to defer work at five ancient woodland sites until Autumn / Winter 2020, as this is possible without a major impact on schedule or cost.
The remaining six sites will be deferred to early 2020, with a view to minimising the impact on HS2’s programme. To protect bats ahead of the work in early 2020, HS2 will need to implement some measures to avoid bats taking roost within the trees. This work will take place this autumn and will include blocking up holes in trees to stop bats from roosting, as well as potentially removing some selected branches, for the same purpose. We will not remove branches from any ‘ancient’ or ‘veteran’ trees within a woodland as this would be considered irreversible.
This work is required to meet legal requirements and will be undertaken with the necessary bat licences from Natural England. It will not alter the integrity of the woodland. Full details of the revised ancient woodland programme are below.
o Five sites to be deferred to Autumn / Winter 2020 Roughknowles Wood North Wood Un-named copse off Drayton Lane Rookery Wood Burnt Firs
o Six sites to be deferred to early 2020 Fulfen Wood Broadwells Wood Birches Wood Crackley Wood Unnamed Woodland south of Ashow Road South Cubbington Wood
Other essential preparatory works will continue during this period including general vegetation clearance, fencing, preparation of site compounds, and ground investigations. We are continuing to assess and monitor this programme of work and any related impacts on ancient woodlands. Should that ongoing assessment result in any changes to our position, we will inform you as soon as possible. We are delivering an extensive community engagement programme to ensure that local people are kept up-to-date with any works in their area.
As residents of our area you would be aware that both Cllr Redford, myself, Warwick District Council, and Warwickshire County Council have been opposed to HS2 since its onset and in fact a considerable amount of money has been spent fighting against it in line with the wishes of our community.
The fact remains that HS2 is in place by an act of parliament which means that the local planning authority rules do not apply and the act of parliament overrules and outweighs everything else. There have been numerous public enquires and consultations over the years where we have made representations.
The community we represent are very clear about our position and we have been (and continue to) work within the legal frameworks on behalf of our community, this includes working with, HS2 directly, The HS2 Commissioner , The HS2 contactors , The department of transport, and all other local authorities affected by HS2, Community Groups and all affected parties.
In August and last month we formally requested that all work on HS2 should be stopped immediately until the full review of HS2 is complete and the decision made to either scrap or continue with the project , I tabled this request on behalf of the community supported by Cllr Redford and other District Council members and this was taken up with the local MP and Grant Shapps.
We have already succeeded in delaying various elements as a result of this including that of South Cubbington woods, for further details please refer to the attached document I have enclosed.
Many of you know that we have been dealing and living with the consequence of HS2 for several years now and you would also be aware of how much of our time it takes, what actions we have been taking on an ongoing basis and the overall difficulties, something which is not particularly featured well in the news on the BBC.
We support what the activists are looking to achieve in South Cubbington and have taken the issues up directly with Grant Shapps and the local MP (Jeremy Wright ) , however as can be seen from the attached listing the work has stopped, pending the review in that area, having said that we cannot condone or support any action that is not legal.
Whilst a quick vignette on the BBC news has highlighted the issue (again) , believe me we have lived and worked with it for many years now and both Cllr Redford's and Cllr Wright's position has never changed.
We along with you live with the impact of HS2 every day and our involvement and work to get the best we possibly can for the community we represent every day and nothing has or will change that.
We will be continuing our theme covering Dementia in the next week or so but particularly focusing on The carers , the often forgotten hero's who give so much to loved ones often without recognition and support.
To start by following the link below you will find information that you may find helpful
We had the pleasure last week to meet with the organisation to understand what they do and how they can support and what their long terms development plans are which we will cover in more depth in the coming months.
Yesterday I was very humbled to be asked to present and support the celebrations at St Marys Cubbington having achieved the status of being the FIRST church In Leamington to receive a Silver Eco-Church Award and only the 3rd to receive such an award in the Coventry Diocese.
This has been no easy task when you consider the church dates back of 900 years !
However unfazed by this the whole church community led by Tricia West has worked hard to get to this level by implementing various cohesive yet simple changes, congratulations on a terrific achievement.
If you want to know more you can by following the link below or go to our "useful links page" on our web site.
Cllr Trevor Wright
Warwickshire County Council seeking views on health and wellbeing in your area
A survey has been launched by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to find out more about the health and wellbeing outcomes, and the factors that affect them,
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and public sector partners recognise that the needs of different communities throughout the county will vary depending on issues such as the population age, infrastructure, community safety, jobs, housing and many more.
To understand this more fully the survey forms part of a larger project to gain more insight into life in Warwickshire’s communities called the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (“JSNA”). and together with other data the survey results will feed into a local needs assessment, which will lead to recommendations for improving local health and wellbeing.
All of this available information will be used by WCC and its partners when commissioning new services or reviewing existing ones., additionally the information will also be available to local voluntary and community groups, to support funding applications to support the community
Please take the opportunity to complete the survey and help to inform this important piece of work by following this link
All blogs are written or edited by Cllr Pam Redford & Cllr Trevor Wright