Disappointment as damaging rail route gets go-ahead

Tuesday 10th January 2012

Woodland ride cpt Zsuzsanna Bird

The Wildlife Trusts today express disappointment as the first phase of High Speed 2 (HS2) is given the go-ahead by the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening. Serious damage to wildlife and habitats is expected as a result of the route’s construction.

Research by The Wildlife Trusts shows the route for HS2 phase one, to run from London to Birmingham, could threaten as many as 160 wildlife sites.  This includes 50 irreplaceable ancient woodlands and the habitat of rare species such as Bechstein’s bat and black hairstreak butterfly.

Additional measures to reduce negative impacts, including tunnel construction, were announced by Justine Greening today.  However, The Wildlife Trusts urged caution at the impact these might have on the natural environment.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:

The Transport Secretary says Government is committed to the ‘lowest feasible impact’ on wildlife. Yet the mitigation measures announced focus on the noise and visual impact of HS2. They include tunnels in various locations. Tunnels will not necessarily prevent damage to fragile habitats – their construction could even make matters worse. It is vital that the impacts on wildlife are not overlooked yet again in this process.

“The Wildlife Trusts are committed to acting on behalf of wildlife in the next steps.”

Read more about The Wildlife Trusts’ position on HS2 at www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2.

Contact information:

Tanya Perdikou (Media & Campaigns Officer)
Office: 01636 670057
Mobile: 07887 754657
Email: tperdikou@wildlifetrusts.org

Notes for editors:

Seven Wildlife Trusts are affected by the route for phase one of HS2.  These are listed here with appropriate media contact details:

• The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants – Jo Fowler, Communications Manager, 01954 713500 / jo.fowler@wildlifebcn.org
• Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust – Wendy Tobitt, Media and Campaigns Manager, 01865 788318 / 07748 641452 / wendytobitt@bbowt.org.uk
• Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust – Neil Wyatt, Director, 0121 454 1199 / neil.w@bbcwildlife.org.uk
• Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust – Sarah Buckingham, Communications Officer, 01727 858901 / sarah.buckingham@hmwt.org
• London Wildlife Trust – Catherine Harris, 020 72610447, charris@wildlondon.org
• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust – Liz Pegg, Communications Officer, 020 72610447 / press@staffs-wildlife.org.uk
• Warwickshire Wildlife Trust – Stephen Trotter, Chief Executive, 02476 302912 / stephen.trotter@wkwt.org.uk

Local Wildlife Trust views

Links to responses from the seven local Wildlife Trusts to the announcement are available below.