- £5 million HS2 Woodland Fund supports new woodlands creation and ancient woodland restoration projects on Phase One
- £1.75m already awarded to projects, with 330,000 trees planted
- £3.25m still available for landowners near the Phase One route
Video of West Wycombe Estate in Buckinghamshire – one of the projects which has received funding:
A £5 million HS2 Woodland Fund, administered by the Forestry Commission, is supporting new woodland creation and Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) restoration projects around the Phase One route between London and the West Midlands.
To date, a total of £1.75 million has been allocated across 35 schemes. This has resulted in the restoration of over 66 hectares of ancient woodland, including the planting of over 110,000 trees; and over 130 hectares of new native woodland, with around 220,000 trees planted.
The fund provides support for landowners in the area 25 miles around the Phase One route. This goes beyond HS2’s existing environmental programme to plant 7 million trees and create over 33 square kilometres of wildlife habitat.
James Hicks, Biodiversity Policy Specialist at HS2 Ltd said:
“We’re designing HS2 to be a railway that respects the natural environment by conserving, replacing and enhancing wildlife habitats with a new ‘green corridor’ along the route. This will create a network of bigger, better-connected, climate resilient habitats and new green spaces for people and wildlife to enjoy in the future.
“Over and above our required mitigation, our HS2 Woodland Fund provides important additional financial support for areas near the route to help compensate for unavoidable impacts to ancient woodlands.”
Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission Chair, said:
“We must ensure that woodlands and habitats impacted by HS2 are effectively restored and protected.
“The HS2 Fund will continue to facilitate the creation of new woodland and bring new life to ancient woodlands around the Phase One route between London and the West Midlands.”
The HS2 Woodland Fund on Phase One provides funding to restore and maintain PAWS sites, including restocking with native trees and shrubs, and associated items including fencing, gates and natural flood management items. It also provides funding for creating, protecting and maintaining new native woodland through the England Woodland Creation Offer – part of a suite of Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England.
West Wycombe Estate in Buckinghamshire is one of the projects which has received funding to restore one of their ancient woodland sites and is now seeing the benefits. Over 15,000 native trees were planted on a site that is very well used by the public, which was previously planted with non-native Japanese Larch that had suffered from damage by squirrels.
David Hunt, Forest Manager at West Wycombe Estate said:
“With the funding available from HS2, it made it an obvious choice for us to opt for going back to restore native ancient woodland on the estate. The benefits of planting woodland on ancient sites is really wildlife conservation, biodiversity and landscape as opposed to commercial woodlands. The funding from HS2 has been really important for us, and anyone interested in this woodland can see the benefits of going back to native tree planting.”
HS2 Ltd are working to extend the Woodland Fund for Phase 2a with an additional £2million of funding available. A £1million HS2 Woodland Fund was also announced on Phase 2b in January 2023 which will be launched following Royal Assent.
More information on the HS2 Woodland Fund, including the locations of schemes delivered to date, can be found on the HS2 website: https://www.hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/environmental-sustainability/ancient-woodland/
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