Only tree felling that is “absolutely necessary to avoid major cost and schedule impacts” can keep going.
The transport secretary has told HS2 Ltd to review its ancient woodlands clearance programme and assess what removals can be halted until after the examination of HS2, led by Doug Oakervee, has reported in autumn.
However, other preparatory works remain unaffected and are proceeding on the basis that the £88bn rail project will not be scrapped.
Grant Shapps said: “There is no sense in hiding the challenges HS2 faces, or masking the difficult decisions that need to be taken. So, as Douglas Oakervee’s review continues, we must take a sensible approach and recognise that some works simply cannot be undone later.
“Having listened to the concerns of affected residents and Parliamentary colleagues, I have ordered HS2 Ltd to consider what works affecting ancient woodland clearances can be delayed for the duration of the review. This ensures we avoid irreversible decisions without major impacts on cost and schedule. HS2 may be a complex project overall, but I think this request is just common sense.”