Concerns raised over HS2’s plans for ‘minor pruning’ in village near Leamington – and a planned expansion in Stoneleigh

Soon one of the tunnel boring machines HS2 is using will be brought along roads in Ufton to drill under Long Itchington Wood – but HS2 Rebellion says the ‘minor pruning’ of trees as part of this operation ‘could have a huge impact on the area’

Anti-HS2 campaigners have expressed fears over the cutting back of trees along the road at a village near Leamington.

HS2 Rebellion has raised concerns about HS2’s announcement that it will be bringing one of its huge tunnel boring machines along the A425 at Ufton in order for it to recommence drilling under Long Itchington Wood – and that part of this operation will include ‘minor pruning of trees’ on the route.

Campaigners say this will have a huge impact on the area.

Trees, such as this one over the A425 Southam Road at Ufton, will soon be cut back so HS2 can move its muge tunnel boring machine along the road so it can recommence drilling under Long Itchington Wood. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

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HS2 Rebellion said: “The abnormal load will require 12-metres of headroom and is likely straddle across most of the road.

"HS2 has announced carriageway closures ahead of this event, saying 'minor pruning' is necessary to allow transportation through the leafy village of Ufton.

“Despite bird-nesting and bat-breeding both being in full swing, apparently its ecologists will conduct surveys prior to and during their activity, ensuring necessary precautions are taken and impact to nesting birds is fully mitigated – how?

“It hasn’t even mentioned bats.

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The HS2 site in Stoneleigh. Photo by Mike Baker

"Branches overhang the road forming a pretty, shady green canopy outside the old vicarage and some of the trees at the edge of the village stretch far above the road.

"Cutting them back to create this vast expanse of space could destabilise them and will have a huge impact on the area.

“Already, residents have to contend with enormously-increased volumes of HS2 traffic, mainly HGVs, and immeasurable disruption from months of roadworks and diversions.

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“In case you hoped Ufton had dodged the full impact as HS2 skirts around the village blighting the landscape and if you thought HS2 had finished its desecration of this little bit of England, think again.”

A spokeswoman for HS2 said it has strict processes in place for all environmental work and its contractor’s team of ecologists carries out detailed assessments in advance of any activity to make sure wildlife is protected.

She added: “We need to remove the ends of some tree branches along the A425 to enable the safe transportation of part of the tunnel boring machine between work sites.

"We have designed the TBM so that only the front section of the tunnel boring machine needs to be dismantled and transported back to the north portal.

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"The main section will be pulled back through the tunnel and this greatly minimises impacts on the community.”

Concerns have also been raised over plans for HS2’s 30-hectare expansion to its Stoneleigh compound.

Hedgerows and trees will be removed as a result.

HS2 has said: “We are extending the site to allow for additional storage of excavated material, which will be used in other locations along the route.

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"This is part of our environmental strategy for an extensive ‘green corridor’ of new wildlife habitats.

"We plan to create a new access onto Stoneleigh Road, which will remove construction traffic from Ashow Road and reduce impact on the community.

"There will also be better access to the new junction on the A46.

“There will be no additional lorry movements as a result of the expansion.”

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