WORK on ancient woodlands is set to be halted until next year say HS2.
Contractors claim they will delay work in Warwickshire until early 2020 on several sites, including South Cubbington Wood.
Protestors are currently camping in ancient woodland in Cubbington in a bid to stop contractors from the high speed line development from removing trees.
A review into the controversial line is currently taking place and is set to be completely by the end of the year.
Secretary of State Grant Shapps said while the Oakervee review was carried out work on ancient woodland would be halted – but campaigners claimed HS2 contractors were in South Cubbington days later planning to dig up some of the historic site.
A HS2 spokesman said: “As highlighted by the Secretary of State, during the Oakervee Review we must strike a sensible balance between keeping the programme on track, and recognising that some works cannot be undone.
“We have assessed 11 ancient woodlands, parts of which were due to be affected by preparations to build Britain’s new high speed railway this autumn, during the period of the Oakervee review.
“Work will now be deferred to autumn or winter 2020 on five of these sites, and to early 2020 on six of the sites, including South Cubbington Wood. We will also take measures to protect wildlife to ensure they are not affected when work begins in early 2020.”
Woodland near Kenilworth including Birches Wood, along with South Cubbington Wood, Crackley Wood and Broadwells Road, near Burton Green, will all have work deferred until early next year.
Roughknowles Wood near Kenilworth will have work delayed until next autumn.
But HS2 say they will continue work to carry out measures to protect wildlife including localised removal of tree branches for protected species works.
The spokesman added: “We will not remove branches from any ancient or veteran trees within an ancient woodland so as not to affect the integrity of the ancient woodlands.
“Other essential preparatory works will continue including low level vegetation clearance, fencing and preparation of site accesses.
“We are continuing some work as scheduled in South Cubbington to establish a compound, prepare the site for future work, install fencing and establish internal roads. This also includes significant ecological mitigation as part of our green corridor programme, including tree planting and the creation of wildlife habitats. Eventually 60,000 trees will be planted in South Cubbington with around a third of those already in the ground.”