Two ancient Derbyshire woods dating back hundreds of years are set to be destroyed by the HS2 high-speed rail route, campaigners warn.
When built, the £50 billion transport project will go straight through the 32-acre Nor Wood near Killamarsh and the 10-acre High Wood near Barlborough.
In addition, another two of Derbyshire’s ancient woodlands will be so close to the track that they will suffer from noise, dust and light pollution while it is being constructed.
These include Robinsons Lumb – again near Barlborough – and Owlcoates Wood near Heath.
Beccy Speight, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “Any loss or damage to ancient woodland is a catastrophe for the natural environment, particularly when you consider how little we have left.
“Just two per cent of the UK’s land area is made up of these precious and irreplaceable habitats, so for large infrastructure projects like HS2 to be riding roughshod over them, rather than setting an example to avoid them, is totally unacceptable.”
Any loss or damage to ancient woodland is a catastrophe for the natural environment.Beccy Speight, chief executive of the Woodland Trust
A spokeswoman for HS2 said: “The railway – which is crucial for the UK’s future economic prosperity – will avoid ancient woodlands wherever possible.
“Compensating for unavoidable ancient woodland loss is vital and HS2 Ltd is doing as much, if not more, than has ever been done before.
“We engage regularly with the Woodland Trust and will be seeking their input on Phase Two to build on the work we have already done and will be undertaking in more detail.”