Boris Johnson continues to delight us with his cornucopia of totally true, honest facts which, no doubt, one of his Bullingdon mates told him whilst they were setting fire to £50 notes in front of tramps. His latest gem appears in a megalomania-indulging piece of sycophantic adoration from Total Politics:

…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.

Eton-and-Oxford-educated Boris Johnson says so, so it must be true. Let us bow to his expensive education and superior knowledge. We must’ve imagined that famous tree in Sherwood Forest:

The Major Oak is a Quercus Robur, the English or pendunculate oak.

This forest veteran is a huge oak tree thought to be around 800 years old. In a 2002 survey, it was voted “Britain’s favourite tree”.

Obviously a fibre-glass fake perpetrated by supporters of that dangerous socialist terrorist Robin Hood.

That nasty lefty National Trust is evidently propagating the porkies, too:

Some of our extraordinary ancient trees are 1,200 years old.

As for the Woodland Trust, what would they possibly know about trees?:

Boris Johnson’s good track record as mayor of London promoting positive policies for trees, makes his comments on HS2 all the more wayward. He has shown breathtaking ignorance and environmental illiteracy in equal measure with his latest comments, entirely misunderstanding the definition of ancient woodland, which does not necessarily contain ‘old trees’, but rather is defined by Natural England as land that has been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD. It is the soil in these woods that has lain undisturbed for centuries and remains undamaged by agriculture or pesticides that makes these rare habitats so important.

Not only will at least 84 ancient woods suffer loss or damage to HS2, many ancient trees, habitats in their own right, will also be felled – one example is the ancient pear tree at South Cubbington in Warwickshire, which is over 250 years old. The Woodland Trust has mapped over 100,000 trees in the UK the majority of which are over 200 years old and many ancient oaks are more than 1,000 years of age. We would be pleased to take Boris to ancient Hainault Forest in East London where he can see both of these habitats for himself and can learn more about their importance.

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