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HS2 Cubbington Camp Report by Dr Will Jackson

THREATENED! 108 ancient woodlands, 33 SSSIs & 693 wildlife areas along the route!

Here at AST we believe in Positive Action so please support CUBBINGTON WOOD PROTECTION CAMP.

"On 28th September 2019, the Main camp was established in the #woodland directly on the route of #HS2. The 40m wide concrete channel to be built in #cubbywood is a small part of the 350 mile long concrete channel in which the line will sit.

No vegetation, no trees, no animals, no birds, no space for wildlife, no space for life!

A blank sterile scar across our beautiful countryside killing everything beneath it and damaging much more all around it. We were not a moment too soon because late afternoon on 3rd October a hedgerow close to the Shakespeare Way entrance was being trimmed by hand. By 8 am the next morning a 10m section of hedge had been destroyed and the contractors were busy with bulldozers and diggers, just about to push a roadway into the wood! After calling for reinforcements and, with some trepidation, we then sat at in their way! Eventually the most senior Orange Spaceman politely asked us to leave as they could not proceed while we were there. We politely declined and were then given a 15 minute talk on the benefits of this fantastic infrastructure project. I responded by explaining that Ancient Woodland is a rare and precious habitat, given that less than 4 % of our land has any left.

Pointing out that the wood is a hotspot for biodiversity which would be blinding us at that point if only biodiversity were light energy, he then explained that they wouldn’t be taking out any TREES, but they had to remove the vegetation and the soil...... I’m afraid my explanation that #AncientWoodland was comprised of multiple components (trees, shrubs, ground flora and all the organisms that live on and in them as well as the unique and living ancient woodland #soil) just fell on deaf ears!

So we stayed and quickly Camp 2 was established, just inside the wood and, again, right in their way. We were given the obligatory health and safety induction by #FiveRivers, HS2s main Ecological Consultants but most worrying was the lack of ecological knowledge apparent. Blithely telling us that Ancient Woodland Translocation would ensure our wood’s future and that they would just have to come and remove any bats and block up any potential roost sites. We were also told that if bats could not be removed, the section of trunk or branch would be removed and lashed to another tree! Then they were going to carefully remove all the soil, store it and then place the soil where the trees were to be translocated.

When I asked them for the scientific papers showing AW translocation works they had no reply and could not tell us where to visit one of these woods! Our WhatsApp group has developed into a wonderful support system for all of us and the community spirit has been unbelievable. Local pubs, restaurants and cafes have all been very generous to us, as have the villagers, donating wood for our camp fires (we’re not burning any from the wood) and one kind person has lent a ger which is the only place people have been able to keep warm overnight in the gales, rain and frost.

For myself the campaign has had a profound effect. I have been enjoying and surveying the wood and its surroundings for nearly 40 years but have never spent so much time there. I have become calmer, my anxiety has virtually gone and I have begun writing protest songs when I can’t get up to the wood. We all feel it; this wood needs us and we need the wood!

Evidence of Iron Age occupation nearby attests to the fact that people have been using the wood for thousands of years. Part of it was felled centuries ago to make two of the three Mediaeval fields that served the village (shown by Lidar scanning). In the Middle Ages pannage by livestock in Autumn was vital to survival. Until recent times all of the tool handles, carts, house beams, floors, rafters and furniture would have come from woods just like this. This has been true ever since #Cubbington village has existed, the plants and trees above ground may come and go over centuries but the soil invertebrates, the bacteria and the all important mycorrhizal fungi that make up the ‘woodwide web’ of our wonderful soil ecosystem..... it’s been there for thousands of years!

The work so far has been preparatory. If the green light is given the whole of Warwickshire will be badly affected. Road closures are planned and the destruction of our wildlife will be heartbreaking. The dust, disturbance, destruction and disruption will be appalling! We continue our fight against this faceless money making machine. We try to keep our spirits up but it is hard at times. Why, oh why, don’t we value our precious soils, our precious wildlife and our ONLY Biosphere?"

With thanks to Dr Will Jackson for this article. Also to AST member Helen Essex for helping to coordinate.

AST believes in PosiviTree For CommuniTree. We can do our bit through Positive Action see below for ideas.

AST is against HS2. We have had a huge amount of feedback from members against this unsustainable technologically over priced white elephant that will save just 20 minutes journey time. THERE IS STILL TIME TO STOP #HS2!

On this website we have an HS2 page with a list of organisations you can contact and support as well as ideas for positive action to combat this white elephant #ponzischeme #climatechange #ecocide. Help save #trees #woods #environment

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