High speed train plans are off the rails

Thursday 16th June 2011

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife TrustsStephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts

The Prime Minister will be heading ‘off the rails’ if he doesn’t withdraw the current HS2 proposal and fully consider the role of high speed rail in England.

At The Wildlife Trusts’ annual conference, held this week, chief executives of 36 local Wildlife Trusts signed a letter to David Cameron, in which they express shared concern at the “very serious damage to wildlife and the countryside that would result from development of the preferred route for the proposed high speed railway line from London to the West Midlands (HS2 Phase 1).”

The letter continues: “We recognise the need for an efficient and sustainable transport system and support moves to a low carbon economy. But as your government has recognised, nature also has great value both to the economy and to the well being of society. To develop built infrastructure at such cost to wildlife contradicts the principles at the heart of The Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature – a white paper we called for and greatly welcome.”

“We believe a fresh look is the only way for this Government to leave a positive legacy and to live up to its ambition"

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, calls on the Prime Minister, on behalf of its membership, to withdraw the proposal for High Speed 2 Phase 1 until there has been fuller strategic consideration of the role of High Speed Rail in this country.

She said: “The last Government initiated these proposals in the absence of this and the current assessment of options is in our view flawed. It has failed to take proper account of alternative approaches to improving the speed and capacity of train routes north from London, or even alternative routes for HS2.

“We believe a fresh look is the only way for this Government to leave a positive legacy and to live up to its ambition, expressed in the white paper, of ensuring that ‘this generation is the first to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited’.”

The Wildlife Trusts have a total membership of more than 800,000 and is the largest voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species.


Story by RSWT