HS2 have planted 350,000 new trees along the route of the new railway, as part of efforts to create a ‘green corridor’.

The corridor aims to create areas for new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community spaces.

In total, 48 habitat mitigation sites have been created along Phase One of the railway, which include trees, grassland, ponds, wildlife refuges, reptile basking banks, and structures for bat and barn owl homes.

One of the sites is Decoypond Wood, part of the Bernwood Forest area of Buckinghamshire, where mitigation work has already begun. HS2’s enabling works contractor, Fusion and their suppliers, are currently completing the planting of over 1,000 trees at the site.

Work is also taking place in the Colne Valley and Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty where a £3m fund has been set up in each area by HS2 to deliver individual environmental projects. In the Colne Valley, 12 projects have already been funded worth over £800,000.

The announcement of mitigation works comes two days after Bucks Free Press reported that a new House of Lords report claimed that the scheme needed a 'major rethink'.

Peter Miller, HS2 Environment Director, said: “Our ecological work is really important in reducing our environmental footprint and minimising the expected impact of our construction work.

“Green Corridor and the various funds we are making available along Phase One of the route have seen our work on the ground accelerate over the last 12 months as we prepare for the main works.

“This will continue, and people can expect to see new sites developed in the years to come and the gradual emergence of the new Green Corridor along the route.”