Conservation charity voices concern for ancient woodland after East West Rail preferred route through Bedford revealed

The Woodland Trust fears on the "potential impacts on irreplaceable ancient woodland" after it was announced the East West Rail will be stopping at Bedford train station.

Jack Taylor, lead campaigner of the Woodland Trust, said: “East West Rail have preferred to go with the E route option for the Bedford to Cambridge section of the route. This choice of route corridor is most concerning as Route E was the worst of all the route corridor options in terms of potential impacts on irreplaceable ancient woodland."

He added: “Eight ancient woods, one Woodland Trust wood and one veteran tree fall within the corridor. Ancient woodland and ancient and veteran trees are irreplaceable; once lost they cannot be recreated.

"The trust considers that development resulting in damage or loss to such habitats is unacceptable and every possible measure must be explored to avoid adverse impact."

Bedford Train Station (Google)

However, as it is only a preferred route at this stage, the trust is hoping it will be able to fight its corner.

Mr Taylor said: "This means East West Rail has the opportunity to ensure they avoid all the irreplaceable habitats within this route corridor in design and development of the specific route. The trust wants East West Rail to fully engage in communication so that they can avoid ancient woods and veteran trees within their chosen corridor.”

On Thursday, Bedford Today revealed East West Rail would be coming to and through Bedford train stationAccording to Bedford Borough Council, the East West Rail is forecast to bring more than £20million to the town's economy.