HS2: Join the Movement To Save UKs Ancient Woodlands

Activism & Leadership

HS2: Join the Movement to Save UKs Ancient Woodlands

Video with Matt Mellen on Tuesday 2nd June 2020

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.

Boris Johnson turn his back on Sir David Attenborough, our woods, wildlife and all the citizens of this country. Join the movement to protect the UKs ancient woodlands, London’s Amazon.


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…

Get involved#

There are many things that we can do to help even while social distancing. These include -#

  • Donate to the HS2 Rebellion fundraiser - https://fundrazr.com/HS2Rebellion?ref=ab_A8xRfqUWEC9A8xRfqUWEC9
  • Sign this petition - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/311642
  • Message your MP here - https://standforthetrees.org/
  • Find out more about HS2 - http://stophs2.org/
  • Understand the importance of ancient woodlands and common law - https://www.wethepeoplesaveourancientwoodland.co.uk/
  • Visit a camp yourself. The camps are in Uxbridge, London. Great Missenden, Wendover, Jones Hill Woods in Buckinghamshire and Crackley in Warwickshire. For information on the camps email: helpstopHS2@gmail.com and HS2Rebellion@gmail.com.

Matt Mellen #

Matt Mellen is founder of Ecohustler

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