Government halts HS2 ancient woodland clearances

High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) has been ordered to stop clearing ancient woodland, unless it is “absolutely necessary”, while a government commissioned review into the project’s future progresses.

An independent review into the north-south HS2 rail route was called by Boris Johnson in August, who asked Doug Oakervee, a civil engineer and former chair of the rail scheme, to look at the business case for it. 

Yesterday, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that planned removal works of ancient woodland along the first phase of the project, running from London to the West Midlands, must not happen while the review is being carried out, unless they are “absolutely necessary to avoid major cost and schedule impacts,” he said. 

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