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Important update from Wednesday 2nd October

To save time, here’s our supporters’ newsletter was sent out on Wednesday evening.

 

The last couple of weeks have been quite manic!

HS2 Ltd contractors have continued work on the haul roads around the woods and set up a site in the first field down towards the river. Last week they diverted the bridle path leading to the river from Mill Lane and blocked off all access to the wood.

Photos here https://www.hs2-cubbington.net/uncategorized/public-access-to-south-cubbington-wood-now-blocked/

District and County Councillors were informed and the HS2 Project Team and the Public Rights of Way officers swung into action. Jeremy Wright has been kept fully informed of the situation and Matt Western, the Warwick and Leamington MP, has stated his intention of contacting Jeremy to see if there’s anything he can do to help. Although the wood is not in his constituency, he has been approached by many people upset by the proposal to continue felling work during the period of review of HS2. Many thanks to those who contacted either MP.

Last Wednesday, Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham came to meet a few local people and learn about what was happening here. After half an hour of talk and note taking, Patrick was escorted up to the woods to see for himself the devastation since his last visit. I spoke to him today: his article is due to be published in next Monday’s Guardian and I understand it will deal with the threat posed by HS2 to ancient woodlands along Phase 1.

On Saturday, Peter Delow went down to Euston to join Chris Packham’s protest rally. Take a tree, said the poster, so Peter took one of our pear saplings and met Chris. You can see photos on our website here https://www.hs2-cubbington.net/uncategorized/chris-packhams-euston-event-photos/

On Saturday evening, a group of protestors led by Matt Bishop, organiser of the Save our Woodland event the week before, set up camp within the fenced off area of South Cubbington Wood, in an effort to prevent the central strip of woodland being felled.. They are still there, braving the chilly, wet weather, and welcome any visitors for a cup of tea and a chat, or any potential campers. You will definitely need wellies. Photo here https://www.hs2-cubbington.net/uncategorized/protestors-camp-out-to-save-south-cubbington-wood/ There is also an article in the Coventry Telegraph. https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/stop-hs2-warwickshire-woodland-17012107

On Monday protestors met with an HS2 Ltd (or contractor) representative who said he was putting a 7 day chainsaw ban on the enclosed part of the wood and agreed to open the gates which had blocked access to the wood.

On Tuesday 1st October, a High Court Enforcement Officer, sent by HS2 Ltd, appeared with several other men, a couple of whom were his colleagues, and politely asked the protestors to follow him out of the enclosure. They declined equally politely, the Officer informed them that proceedings would commence and then left.

Later, Matt spoke to an unhappy contractor who had men in the compound waiting to start felling trees: this despite a starting date of 9th October being given to the Woodland Trust under HS2 Ltd’s obligation to provide advance notification.  HS2 Ltd denied all knowledge of an early start. In the evening, the campers were surprised by the arrival of workers with lights for the camp, so that they stay safe!

On Wednesday 2nd, at lunchtime a statement was issued by HS2 Ltd, Area North – attached. It gives our beloved wood something of a reprieve until early next year, though certain works can continue – but not tree felling.

The statement is here: Summary – Ancient Woodland Assessment 2 Oct 19

The big questions are, will HS2 Ltd keep their word and will they communicate the new orders to their contractors?  We’ll be monitoring events closely.  Thank you to those who are keeping an eye on things when they’re out walking.  Your help has been invaluable these past few weeks. 

And finally, the next local  HS2 Ltd drop-in session is at

Weston under Wetherley Village Hall, Sabin Drive, Weston under Wetherley, CV33 9GA

Tuesday 8 October 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Representatives of HS2 Ltd and contractor Laing Murphy should be in attendance.

At the Cubbington and Offchurch events of last month, employees of Laing Murphy tried to explain the translocation of the woodland soil to be taken from our wood.  The problem is that they plan to relocate it to “new woodland” areas where the trees are about 3 feet high.  Anemones, bluebells, wood sorrel and other woodland plants need dappled shade in spring, which they won’t have.  If you go, please make sure to enlighten them!
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