Boris is bonkers when it comes to woods & trees
Old Chinese proverb –
‘It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all possible doubt’
According to the Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London said that ‘….people who criticise the high-speed railway line for environmental reasons are ‘talking “b******s”. These opponents of HS2 are simply “pretending” to have an environmental objection when they in fact are “furious” about house prices decreasing because of the £50 billion railway route’, Mr Johnson told Total Politics magazine. His comments will anger anti-HS2 campaigners, many of whom are Conservative voters. Mr Johnson’s father Stanley has been a vocal opponent of the line.
The Bluebell – often indicating a woodland site over 500+ years old
Boris goes on and really demonstrates the limitations of his knowledge or understanding of the issues. Indeed, at this point his views become dangerous, and deliberately misinformed.
‘People are in the humiliating position of having to pretend that there’s some environmental objection that they have, that the Great Crested Grebe is going to be invaded or whatever,’ Mr Johnson said. He goes on to dig himself deeper into a mire of ignorance. ‘What they care about is their house prices. It’s tragic we have protest groups talking about ‘this ancient woodland’ when actually there’s no tree in this country that’s more than 200 years old…….most mature trees die at about the age of my age, the average life expectancy of a tree can’t be more than about 60 years. There aren’t that many ancient woodlands around is the point I’m trying to make.’
The Great Oak of Pontfadog – a little over 60 years Boris
Well bearing in mind that a definition of ancient woodland is that it can be evidenced back to 1500 AD or 1600 AD (depending on the definition), and many forest trees live to several hundred years or more. Oak can live to 1,000 years plus, and Small-leaved Lime up to 2,000 to 3,000 years. Our work in Sheffield has demonstrated that even a modestly sized Oak coppice stool might be 500 to 600 years old. Well simple lack of understanding cannot hold back a Boris Johnson.
‘It’s b******s. They’re not campaigning for forests, they’re not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be obviously, but what they’re really furious about is that their house prices are getting it.’
Boris went on, to say that the Government should handle the project ‘in the way they do in France’ by going to every household on the route and paying ‘top dollar for all their property’. So how much do you pay a Badger, a Woodpecker or a Bluebell? Boris with all his posh-boy education is not one to let facts get in the way of ignorance. All this is before I talk about the heritage and archaeology of ancient woodlands which is totally none-substitutable and irreplaceable. You cannot offset heritage!
Ian D. Rotherham, Writer, Broadcaster, Professor of Environmental Geography, Reader in Tourism & Environmental Change