Protect Jones Hill Wood from HS2

by Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

Protect Jones Hill Wood from HS2

by Jones' Hill Earth Protectors
Jones' Hill Earth Protectors
Case Owner
Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors are based at Jones Hill Wood near Wendover an ancient biodiverse woodland, home to diverse wildlife including protected species. It is under immediate threat from HS2.
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Jones' Hill Earth Protectors
Case Owner
Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors are based at Jones Hill Wood near Wendover an ancient biodiverse woodland, home to diverse wildlife including protected species. It is under immediate threat from HS2.
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Latest: May 12, 2021

Time for action

Dear friends and supporters

We write with a heavy heart as felling is underway but still with hope that justice will be done.

Constraints from the weather and conditions of Natural England’s lice…

Read more


Jones' Hill Wood is a beautiful ancient woodland in Buckinghamshire that has to date been successfully defended from destruction by HS2 through the actions of Earth Protectors, ecologists, lawyers, environmental groups, locals and politicians. The battle for this ancient woodland continues as we also expand our collaborative strategy to protect other areas of natural beauty under threat by HS2. The tawny owls, red kites, families of badgers, and plethora of other flora and fauna that call Jones' Hill Wood home all have a right to life.

However, it was only when a highly respected ecology team corroborated the Earth Protectors long term claims that the woodland is a Barbastelle bat habitat that concerted legal defence began. Barbastelle bats are vulnerable to extinction in the UK and Europe and need complex old woodlands with a variety of roost types and habitat features that simply cannot be replaced - which is why they're one of the most highly legally protected species in the UK. Despite not having conducted even the minimum standard of ecological surveys, nor having applied for licenses or provided mitigation, HS2 attempted to fell Jones’ Hill Wood in Autumn 2020.

With a huge outcry that HS2 intended to knowingly commit criminal offences, it was ultimately through the intervention of Thames Valley Police that our collaboration learned that HS2 would undertake surveys. Outrage escalated when HS2 began undertaking inappropriate surveys in bat hibernation season and trying to influence those surveys by deploying high powered lighting to illuminate the trees, which HS2 were officially notified can kill bats through entombment and starvation or expel bats from the habitat. HS2 have already decimated the habitat and undertaken extensive actions that are disturbing to protected species.

It was only through the threat of legal action from a leading environmental organisation that HS2 agreed to abide by their legal duty to apply for licenses. HS2 have now applied for licenses from Natural England. With huge governmental pressure to push this project through, we fear that Natural England may grant licenses without being able to ensure that action "will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species", which would be in breach of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulation 2017, Reg 55 (9) (b). 

This is wrong. HS2 cannot sidestep all ecological due diligence and breach their duty of care just to push through timetables. The Wildlife Trust’s report substantiates concerns that HS2 will drive species to local extinction

(1) this is an example where the risk is acute and must be avoided. This destruction wasn’t even needed, as Aylesbury Vale DC provided extensive planning, showing three levels of less destructive alternative.
(2) We have engaged leading environmental law specialists Richard Buxton Solicitors, who will be ready to launch an injunction in the event that Natural England grant inappropriate licenses.

We need to be ready with £15,000 for an emergency injunction and £35,000 for ongoing legal action. In the case that these actions are not needed, these fees will be used in other legal action against HS2. We will be holding HS2 to account for their crimes and we will defend our ancient woodlands and nature reserves from HS2. Once an ancient woodland is gone, it is gone forever. Now is the time to act! Thank you for joining us.

 Please share far and wide.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1012/regulation/55/made

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2

https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/sites/default/files/page_downloads/Vol%203%20St%20Cl%20Stn%20to%20Traffic.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0oKicvmLpK-F0CFiro6kiQmBlbZPt4MYA2ZpkwlwroQ_ooaCeK0btmQbk 



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Update 15

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

May 12, 2021

Time for action

Dear friends and supporters

We write with a heavy heart as felling is underway but still with hope that justice will be done.

Constraints from the weather and conditions of Natural England’s licence have slowed down felling. We are currently in urgent dialogue with Natural England and Thames Valley Police as it appears that HS2 are breaching their license and certainly showing very bad practice.

In the meantime, our Solicitors at Richard Buxtons have lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal to challenge the use of Licence Policy 4 and other key points regarding mitigation abs the protection of endangered species.

Jones Hill Wood is a special ancient woodland that has touched the hearts of many throughout this campaign. It has shown how people and even bats have a voice and power to stand up to the might of a government project like HS2 that considers itself above the law and it tears through English homes, communities and countryside. 

It is also a beacon of hope. In this David v Goliath battle of life over death and destruction, we’ve had several successes and held illegal practices to account and it continues; not just for Jones Hill but other Woodland and Wildlife threatened by big infrastructure projects such as HS2. If we are successful in our Appeal, we will be able to set a precedent for the protection of endangered species throughout England and Wales and ensure that statutory bodies such as Natural England cannot be bullied out of their duty by the might of a Government that rides roughshod of people and nature.

Please keep supporting - care and share with your networks. We are looking to build more alliances with NGOs and other stakeholders. We need feet on the ground and hands on deck. The Earth Protectors would love your presence so please get there before it’s too late!

With thanks 

For all Life 

Jones Hill Earth Protectors  


Update 14

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

May 4, 2021

We've launched our Appeal

Dear Friends and Supporters 

Thank you for all your support - your donations and words of encouragement mean so much at this time.

We lodged our application for permission to appeal against Justice Holgate's decision in the Court of Appeal on Friday. We hope to lodge the Appeal on 17th May. This may be too late to save Jones Hill Wood but it is absolutely vital that we hold Natural England to account.   

They applied a lower standard to issue a Licence by applying Licensing Policy which allowed HS2 Ltd a means to overcome the problem it had created for itself by not carrying out adequate bat surveys of the ancient woodland. It had had at least seven years to do so, and until threatened with legal challenge by the Woodland Trust in autumn 2020 had intended to fell the wood without the benefit of such surveys and without a bat licence.

We are very concerned that this will lower the bar for all future licence applications where endangered species, including the barbastelle bat, are under threat.  

Please do have a read of Ecologist Dominic Woodfield's blog. The Judgment is attached. 

https://markavery.info/2021/05/01/guest-blog-hs2-natural-england-and-jones-hill-wood-by-dominic-woodfield/

This is not just about Jones Hill. This is about all life and protecting those under threat and without a voice. Thank you for being with us and on the right side of history.

Please, if you can, make a trip to Jones Hill Woods. The team on the ground always appreciate new faces and support. We have achieved so much over the past year and, although we going through a more challenging time at the moment, we believe that we are changing the tide and creating a story of hope and justice for the Earth and that David can still overcome Goliath. 

With gratitude and hope

The Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors 

Update 13

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 27, 2021

We will continue this fight for endangered species

Dear Supporters 

We are very sad to tell you that Mr Justice Holgate has discharged the injunction granted by Mrs Justice Lang and refused permission to apply for Judicial Review. This is such disheartening news and as I write, men with chainsaws are back in the woods. 

We will not give up.  This is a fight of David v Goliath and it will have tough and challenging moments.  We need to meet this and to rise above, not just for Jones Hill Wood, but for all endangered species that stand to be at risk.  

Mark Keir has instructed Richard Buxtons solicitors to appeal the judgment to the Court of Appeal. We aim to be in a position to do so before the end of the week. The case raises a very important principle of public law and the role of Natural England as regulator in projects of nationally important infrastructure where sensitive ecological habitats are threatened. What happened in this case is not a “one off” licensing decision by Natural England and the judgment matters far beyond the ancient woodland trees at Jones Hill Woods. It creates a very dangerous precedent for HS2 and other developers.  

We are reaching out for support - we have already exceeded our funds in legal costs and will need even more to be able to appeal.  Please donate if you can and share far and wide. If each person were to share with at least 10 people, imagine the impact!

We need help on the legal team as well as in PR and Media.  We also need feet on the ground in the wonderful woods to show support and resilience and to lift the dedicated Earth Protectors who have given their life to this.

Natural England was set up to protect the environment. It has not done its job here and HS2 think they are above the law.  We need to keep standing up and show them that they are accountable. If we stand up and act now, I believe we can set a precedent for future applications to Natural England, not only protecting endangered and rare species, but ensuring our children do not grow up in a world devoid of diversity and beauty. 

Together, we are a voice for Mother Nature and for Justice.

Thank you so much 

Lindsey and the Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors

laspinks@gmail.com



Update 12

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 26, 2021

Decision expected 3.30pm

Dear Supporters

After a full day's hearing on Friday with submissions from all sides, we are expecting a Decision from Justice Holgate at 3.30pm today.

We will update you once we know.

Thank you for all your support - we are in this together and will keep fighting to protect life.

Love

The Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors

Update 11

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 22, 2021

Our Skeleton Argument

Dear Supporters


For anyone that is interested, here is the link to the Skeleton Argument on behalf of Mark Keir and Jones Hill Wood.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yJkbtm6CzAZ1PxMcFav6ONVVsbNoRcOA/view?usp=sharing

If you have issues, please email at laspinks@gmail.com

With thanks and prayers


Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors


Update 10

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 22, 2021

Earth Day - Call for Support

Dear Supporters

We will be in Court tomorrow with our legal team from Richard Buxton Solicitors. HS2 are challenging the Order issued by Mrs Justice Lang last Friday in our David v Goliath case.

The hearing will be a permission hearing on Mark Keir, the Claimant’s application for Judicial Review to have the licence issued by Natural England quashed and determine whether the injunction to stop felling in Jones Hill Woods should be maintained.

Please support by sharing this news and donating where you can as we need to maintain our legal fund to meet ongoing legal costs.  We also need help in our media to spread the message and built interest and support for this crucial case to hold Natural England to account in order to protect the environment and endangered species.  

Please get in touch if you would like to join our committed and expanding legal/campaigns as well as media team.  Let's unite on Earth Day to hold Jones Hill Wood - its trees and all Life - in the highest vision of health and vitality.

Thank you!

Jones Hill Wood Earth Protectors

Lindsey - Legal/Campaigns - tel. 07915 604838

Katy and Andrew - Media - tel. 07583 877751/07484 154605

https://bylinetimes.com/2021/04/20/legal-challenge-on-bat-habitat-sends-message-that-ecological-protections-matter/?fbclid=IwAR3-Z_T2AjHQS6OIy4-6JyEy0uKyDYDsDRDW_6QJGaYluylJWgp9es5EGhc

Update 9

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 20, 2021

HS2 Fight Back

Dear Friends and Supporters of Jones Hill Woods 

Following our success last Friday, on 19th April in the afternoon, HS2 applied to have Justice Lang’s order varied and for there to be a hearing on permission and the injunction on Friday 23rd April. Richard Buxton Solicitor have responded raising concerns. 

Solictor Lisa Foster adds:

"At 18:00pm 19/4 we received an email from the Court lawyer which was on behalf of Mr Justice Holgate setting out a “minded to” order to have the hearing listed for Friday and actions by the party to prepare that. We have commenced preparations to have a hearing on Friday."

The hearing on  Friday will be a permission hearing on the Claimant’s application for Judicial Review to have the licence quashed and whether the injunction should be maintained."

Please keep supporting Jones Hill Woods and our amazing Legal Team and team on the ground.  Share and care and donate to the fund if you can so we can meet increasing legal costs.

If you can make it to Jones Hill Wood, please do.  If you are able to help  in anyway, please join Save Roald Dahl's woods on Facebook and keep sharing this Crowdfunder as well as our Petition on 38 Degrees: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/urgently-suspend-felling-at-jones-hill-woods

Thank you for your Support in this David v Goliath Case!  Together, we will stand strong!  

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2021/04/16/hs2-ordered-halt-felling-fantastic-mr-fox-woodland-home-rare/





Update 8

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 19, 2021

Good News!

Dear Supporters

We have positive news!

After months of hard work on the ground and with our amazing legal team at Richard Buxton Solicitors, our case was heard and an Order granted by Mrs Justice Lang sitting in the Planning Court to halt all works in the Licence area of Jones Hill Woods. 

At present her directions provide that the case will be heard after 24th May.  We will provide further details as they arise.

Thank you for all your support!  Without your donations, this would not be possible.   

We will update with the Court Order and more feedback from the Campaigners on the ground and our fantastic Legal Team.

Please keep sharing and caring - we need to reach our next goal so we can continue this fight for justice :)

Update 7

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 13, 2021

Please sign our urgent petition to suspend works

We hope to have our case for Judicial Review heard imminently.

In the meantime, HS2 continue to fell Jones Hill Woods, putting wood straight through the chipper.  We are calling on Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson to suspend felling until the outcome of the Court Case, please sign!

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/urgently-suspend-felling-at-jones-hill-woods?share=4512c4ff-2f1b-4ba9-8e86-a92576145914&source=&utm_source=

EMAIL ANDREW STEPHENSON AT andrew.stephenson.mp@parliament.uk

DEMAND that he halts felling at Jones’ Hill Wood until the court case is fully heard. Keep the email concise and personal. You can include the following information:
Natural England has issued a license to kill despite a clear lack of sufficient wildlife surveys and mitigation measures needed to ensure the Favourable Conservation Status of protected species including barbastelle bats (present at the woodland).
Felling and destruction of evidence of potential wildlife crime is happening at an unprecedented rate, with felled trees being put into the wood chipper almost immediately after being cut down.
Earth Protectors on site defending the woodland have been facing unjustified intimidation tactics and violent behaviour from HS2 workers and contractor firms.
Most importantly, express how you feel about the heartless destruction taking place right now. Ask that it is STOPPED IMMEDIATELY


Thank you for stepping up and taking action to protect ancient woodland and the life it is home to! 

Update 6

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

April 13, 2021

We have initiated Legal Proceedings


Thank you to all of you who have dedicated your time and money to support Jones Hill Woods and our quest to hold HS2 and Natural England to account.

We apologise for not updating previously - so much has been happening. Back in March we took on the case for Leather Lane and urged HS2 via threat of further action, to halt works as they had not carried out adequate surveys and did not hold a licence to fell the Oak trees that were home to roosting bats and other species. At the time, we have been applying intense scrutiny to Natural England and HS2 to ensure that they follow the licensing process properly and for Natural England to fulfill their Statutory Duty.

**BREAKING NEWS**

We iniated legal proceedings against Natural England yesterday with HS2 as an interested party. 

The ancient and beautiful Jones’ Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire is being felled as we write. We have a legal case awaiting hearing, but each minute is precious and trees are still being felled.

HS2 entered Jones Hill back in October 2020, with intention to fell without surveys, let alone a licence from Natural England. Earth Protectors and Ecologists on the ground had been surveying the woods and identified several bat species, including the endangered barbastelle bat. Over the past 6 months, the team has been represented by Lawyers and supported by the Woodland Trust to hold both Natural England and HS2 to account and to ensure that adequate surveys were carried out and that Natural England fulfilled its Statutory role to protect the natural environment by issuing a well-considered licence that would protect the barbastelle bats in particular and ensure their conservation. Despite constant scrutiny, Natural England have now issued a licence to destroy bat roosts on tenuous grounds. The mitigation put forward by HS2 for the loss of habitats for the barbastelle and other families of bats were on flimsy and highly questionable grounds.

We believe that Natural England has failed in its statutory duty and that the needs of barbastelle families are nowhere near being met by the compensation proposed. As such we have resorted to the Courts to initiate legal proceedings and hold them to account. However, legal action takes time. This is time the trees and the creatures they home do not have. HS2 continue to fell and seem adamant to destroy what they can before they can be stopped by the law. Another minute, another tree felled.

We the undersigned, on behalf of the endangered barbastelle refuges, plead that you pause all felling of this irreplaceable natural assets and rethink, with an open mind, the other options available to you and certainly do the right thing and HALT ALL FELLING UNTIL THIS CASE IS HEARD.

This issue is important, not just for the barbastelle bats at Jones Hill Woods but for all other endangered species of wildlife that are under threat from construction projects. We need to hold Natural England to account and make sure the law is enforced to protect all wildlife that is meant to protect.

As the case grows and we take more trees, their wildlife and affected landowners under our wing, we need more support.  Please continute to share and support, thank you!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P87YldhTQ0c

Update 5

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

March 13, 2021

Things are heating up!

Dear Friends

We have now passed the 50% mark and heading towards our final goal of £35k which is vital, as the situation in the vale of Wendover is intensifying -  As I write, camps, woodland and animals are under imminent threat.

HS2 proceeded to carry out unlicensed works at Jones Hill Woods at the beginning of the week followed by the eviction of the Leather Lane camp where brave Earth Protectors were installed to protect the ancient avenue of Oaks that is so iconic and meaningful for the locals who turned out in force to question the legality of HS2's actions, including a local Ecologist who filmed several bat roosts and did his best to engage with Police onsite to prevent Wildlife Crimes being committed.

Our Solicitor, Lisa Foster, at Buxtons Solicitors has been vital in calling both HS2 and Natural England to account and, so far, no licence has been granted in respect of Jones Hill Woods due to the threat of legal action and the intense scrutiny they are currently under.  Lisa responded to the illegal works at Jones Hill and threat to Leather Lane Oaks in a swift manner. We received a response from HS2 under the threat of legal action and we are in the process of working through issues and responding.

Without an environmental law expert with teeth, we would not be armed to face these threats - we are grateful for Lisa's commitment to our cause and for your donations to ensure we have this vital protection - not just for Jones Hill and Leather Lane - but to set a precedent to ensure that HS2 changes its way of charging through regardless of legal obligations and minimal standards it should be regarding.

HS2 may think they are above the law - we are showing they are not!

Please act!  Please care and share with your networks and be the voice of truth and reason in the face of this monstrosity.

When your children asked what you did in the face of Ecocide and Climate Change, you can say you did something! We ARE creating positive change - thank you!

 


Update 4

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

March 6, 2021

Now is the time!


Dear Friends and Supporters

We have been extremely busy since our last update with the legal case to protect Jones Hill Wood which is under imminent threat.

WE HAVE PASSED 50% OF OUR GOAL BUT STILL HAVE A WAY TO GO..

Our case has largely focused on the destruction of Ecology in the Woodland, including the destruction of potential roosting sites for Barbstelle Bats and the irreversable destruction of the woodland floor.

Our solicitor, Lisa Foster, at Buxtons has been in intense back and forth dialogue with Natural England who were established under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 with protecting the natural environment. We are holding them to account and requesting that they fulfill their duty of care to protect the environment,  which is acutely under threat from HS2. 

Natural England should be legally responsible for the protection of  Woodlands, Habitats and endless species of Wildlife, some of which are endangered, including the Barbastelle Bat that calls Jones Hill Home.   

Even though HS2 still do not have a licence to carry out works (thanks to the hard work of our Ecologists and Legal Team) - they are still clearing understorey and building up a threatening presence.  

This week saw HS2 and their mob intrude even further in to the woods and unlawfully take another 20 metres of land which encloses an additional 70 or so trees. A challenging and violent situation ensued when Earth Protectors (including locals, ecologists and photographers) were assaulted and manhandled by huge numbers of HS2 Security whilst the Police looked on. 

It is important to note that it is only possible for HS2 to grab more land under Schedule 16 of the Hybrid Bill if they revert to Parliament.  We are working to bring the horrors of this week in to the public eye and under legal scrutiny.  The illegaties we are witnessing at Jones Hill are playing out across the line and we intend this legal case to be a test case and set a precedent to protect other land and their land owners from illegal practices.  

IT IS TIME TO HOLD HS2 TO ACCOUNT!

Please be part of thie movement to bring justice and relief to those affected by HS2 - it is time to stand up and to protect those without a voice and stand by endless homeowners and farmes affected by corruption and ongoing illegalities.

Please care and share and bring others onboard! 

Thank you x

Update 3

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

Feb. 21, 2021

Thank you so much!!!


Dear Friends and Supporters

We have reached £16,000 thanks to you! 

This means we have covered the £15,000 urgently needed to cover costs of an Injunction.  We will be speaking to our solicitor at Richard Buxtons tomorrow to plan our next steps.

We are grateful and can breathe a bit now we have this under the belt, but we need to focus on our next goal of £35,000 so we can cover ongoing costs.  Who knows where this will lead, but we have a strong case and voice for nature!  

So, please keep sharing and caring and stay in touch with us - we are so grateful for your support and grow this beautiful family of Earth Protectors xxx

Update 2

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

Feb. 19, 2021

We're almost there!!!

Jones Hill Fundraising Update

We are almost there!! 

Dear Friends - thanks to your generosity and support, we have almost reached our first target of £15,000.  Once we reach this,  we will have the money we need to cover the legal costs to launch an injunction should a chainsaw appear in Jones Hill Wood. We will then take another leap to meet our next target of £35,000 to meet the costs of ongoing legal action. 

Things are getting intense as HS2 push ahead regardless of surveys and due diligence – even the owner of the hazel coppice over the road from Jones Hill did not know that his land was being felled until he was disturbed by chainsaws at 4am!  We managed to get on the BBC local news and reach out to the public to show what is going on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QKuTqRRKOg

Please support! 

Donate, share, show you care <3

Nature needs our voices and action to protect the woodland and endangered species in the midst of Ecological collapse, thank you!

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/protect-jones-hill-wood-from-h/?fbclid=IwAR1tAtoN_FOmiWLJDQ3itwKkkfC3CY18xE_R7cQVW5KnAvDUqsqV7o8Iiqo

Update 1

Jones' Hill Earth Protectors

Feb. 17, 2021

On track to Victory!!

We're Saving Our Ancient Woodlands! Jones' Hill Update

🌲   🙏🏻  🙏🏼  🙏🏽  🙏🏾  🙏🏿 🌲

Thank you so much for your donation and for your commitment to justice.  

In ONE DAY we've raised £8,500 and are over halfway to reaching our initial target of £15,000 to initiate urgent legal proceedings to protect this ancient woodland and the wildlife that call Jones Hill home.

No one in Buckinghamshire wants HS2 - it is causing devastation for the environment and entire towns and villages as well as farmland and entire ecosytems and endless species of animals, great and small. The Government have not listened to the people and are riding roughshod over public opinion as well as professional standards and regulations put in place to protect the the health and welfare of humans and wildlife.

The amazing reponse to our fundraising campaign to support legal action shows how much people care and how important we realise our natural world is - for us and for the planet.  This is the voice of the people speaking. Make yours heard!

Our lawyers have been talking to key figures in Natural England. Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, is preparing a reply to us. 

Now it's time for you to tell Tony what you think! 

Should HS2 be able to fell an ancient woodland without doing even minimum standard surveys? 

Should HS2 be allowed to destroy the habitat of a species vulnerable to extinction??

This is our shared natural heritage and your voice counts!

@TonyJuniper @NaturalEngland #StopHS2

Every comment, share and crowdfunder pledge sends a clear message of what you think!

Thank you for being a voice of truth in the world!  Please share with care and invite more onboard for this journey to justice!  

🌲   🙏🏻  🙏🏼  🙏🏽  🙏🏾  🙏🏿 🌲

Read Regulation 55 (9) (b) for yourself here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1012/regulation/55

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