This journey into the UK’s woodland protection camps is not what you expected
British people are fond of saying that we are a nation of animal lovers. Whilst on many levels this is true, the facts speak for themselves. The UK is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries in the world.
If you venture out on a walk in the countryside you are likely to see: intensely managed farmland, pet dogs and just small pockets of wild habitat with dwindling insect and bird populations... and not much else...
If you head far from the cities onto the barren uplands that are over-grazed with sheep the situation is worse. A vast emptiness greets us. A bleak desert where once forests and wild creatures thrived.
The United Kingdom is a small island nation that expanded aggressively outwards. This has taken an immense toll on the country’s wild places. Ancient woodland is reduced to a few small fragments and we have a complete lack of large terrestrial fauna. The only abundant large wild animals are deer and the largest extant carnivore is the badger which is remorselessly harassed by the state.
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. In the UK the situation is so severe that The Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity has just launched its Emergency Tree Plan. Dr Darren Moorcroft, CEO said
I’m acutely aware that we start 2020 with more woods under threat from destruction than any other time in history. Tree planting rates are the lowest in decades, and 1 in 10 wildlife and plant species is under threat from extinction.
Whilst large conservation organisations attempt to change the county’s cataclysmic course regular people have understood the fierce urgency of now and are stepping up to play their historic role in protecting our shared natural heritage.
Under the cover of coronavirus the biggest deforestation project in Britain since World War 1 has begun. The deeply unpopular, HS2 rail link threatens to devastate 108 Ancient Woodlands, 693 Local Wildlife Sites and 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
All along the planned route of the unnecessary new infrastructure project camps are springing up and being populated by the UK’s next generation of ecological protectors.
Coming from all walks of life but sharing the same grit and purpose - they may not have been what you expected...
There are many things that we can do to help even while social distancing. These include -
You could be forgiven for thinking a railway would be good for the environment, but there’s a reason so many environmentalists oppose it. HS2 is not the project you think it is.
HS2 had its own advert taken down by the advertising standards authority, as it was deemed to be too misleading, depicting a single train with no overhead wires, surrounded by trees. The reality is massive destruction to shave a few minutes off a journey from London to Birmingham. And far from being good for the environment, HS2 itself has admitted that the line would not become carbon neutral over its 120-year projected lifetime!
The ‘enabling’ works to clear ancient woodland have already caused extensive and irreversible damage to the environment; over 100 such ancient woodlands will be destroyed, along with river paths and over 700 special wildlife sites. These precious ecosystems and the biodiversity they hold can never grow back, not matter how many trees are planted to replace them. HS2 will also pollute an aquifer offering more than 2 million people drinking water.
HS2 don’t want people to know the truth.They have illegally blocked damning reports on inaccurate forecasting, and have continued to fell trees in the nesting season, when it is illegal to disturb nesting birds. Trees are being immediately chipped on-site so that evidence of nests cannot be found.
This line is not offering anything new or necessary to our nation. In an age of remote working, marginally increasing journey times at massive cost is a vanity project at best. HS2 is forecast to cost over £100 billion, which will cost each taxpayer at least £3,375! (Follow this link to find an infographic on HS2 from StopHS2. The StopHS2 website can be found here.)
This money could be used to actually protect and preserve the environment, or improve existing transport links.
Jake and Caitlin