Transport secretary Grant Shapps has halted removals of ancient woodlands for HS2 while the independent Oakervee review is underway.
Transport secretary bows to pressure from woodlands campaigners
Shapps said clearances would only be allowed during Oakervee’s work if it was shown to be absolutely necessary to prevent major cost and schedule impacts.
Around 60 ancient woodlands will be impacted by the high-speed rail project.
He said HS2 would be allowed to continue with other important preparatory works which, if delayed, would have a damaging impact on cost and schedule if HS2 were to continue.
“There is no sense in hiding the challenges HS2 faces, or masking the difficult decisions that need to be taken.
“So, as Douglas Oakervee’s review continues, we must take a sensible approach and recognise that some works simply cannot be undone later.
“Having listened to the concerns of affected residents and Parliamentary colleagues, I have ordered 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. HS2 may be a complex project overall, but I think this request is just common sense.”