Bucks woman named guardian angel for HS2 campaign

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Carol-Anne O’Callaghan, who lives in Lee, near Great Missenden, was this week’s angel winning a prize given weekly by the national newspaper.

The Guardian wants to feature everyday people making a difference in their communities.

In Saturday’s paper, the prestigious honor went to Carol-Anne in recognition of her campaign to protect natural sites near her home.

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Carol-Anne O’Callaghan with her daughter Blaize, photo by Carol-Anne O’Callaghan

Carol-Anne fights to protect the trees near her home in Leather Lane, where 99 veteran oak trees stand.

Three were shot down by HS2 to create a haul road for his project.

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Carol-Anne said: “I’m delighted to be nominated for this award. I’ve never been an activist before, but I just knew what HS2 had planned for Leather Lane was wrong and I had to speak up.

As featured in Saturday’s edition of The Guardian

“People who had been living here since before the project started were so tired after all these years of battling HS2 that they didn’t think we could have any influence on the outcome of Leather Lane. They needed to be reminded that this was wrong. and that by questioning and calling HS2 to account, we could still make a difference in what happened here.

Carol-Anne’s campaign alongside the work of Lawyers for Nature is credited with preventing more trees from falling during this time in 2021.

Alongside her daughter, Blaize, Carol-Anne has set up a petition to ‘Save Leather Lane Oaks’ which has attracted over 43,000 signatures.

She installed Anabat detectors along Leather Lane which recorded seven species of bats regularly commuting and feeding in the lane in large numbers.

The former teacher said her research shows the endangered Barbastelle bat lives in the Great Missenden area.

Campaigners say that in response to Carol-Anne’s work, HS2 contractor EKFB is currently carrying out full bat surveys and is considering using an above-deck design proposed by the petitioners.

The local resident who named Carol-Anne said: “When I first met Carol-Anne [at a meeting organised for locals to explain what she was trying to achieve]I met someone who is passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless, someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions and call the big, intimidating corporations for doing the wrong thing.

A spokesperson for HS2 previously told the Guardian: “HS2 is working to reduce our impact on the environment, but some trees in Leather Lane are directly in the path where the new railway will be built.

“From the start, we sought to reduce the number of trees to be felled, and in the first phase we are planting up to seven million trees and will leave behind 30% more wildlife habitat than none currently exist There is no evidence of bats roosting in affected trees.

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