Will rail route be off-track for nature?

Saturday 26th January 2013

Stephanie Hilborne OBE cpt ChrisTaylorPhotography.com

Ahead of the Government’s announcement of its preferred route for the second phase of High Speed Rail 2 - expected on Monday - The Wildlife Trusts are waiting to see if the data it has provided on important wildlife-rich areas have been taken into account.

The Wildlife Trusts have undertaken a detailed analysis to understand the new route’s impacts and will lobby hard to ensure excessive damage on the natural environment is avoided, mitigated or, as a last resort, compensated for.

The Wildlife Trusts are pressing HS2 Ltd to make decisions based on the best available environmental evidence and to put forward a scheme which is in line with the Natural Environment White Paper’s ambition to restore our natural environment.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: 

“The Government is committed to continuing HS2 northwards whilst still awaiting the outcome of five Judicial Reviews being held into HS2 Phase One.  Any scheme that goes ahead must avoid further erosion of England’s much depleted natural capital.”

Find out more about HS2 at www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2

Notes for editors:

Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s wildlife sites was published in September 2010.  It is an independent review of England’s wildlife sites and the connections between them, with recommendations to help achieve a healthy natural environment that will allow plants and animals to thrive.  Led by Professor Sir John Lawton, the review was set up to look at wildlife sites and whether they are capable of responding and adapting to the growing challenges of climate change and other demands on our land.

The Wildlife Trusts and HS2
The Wildlife Trusts are represented on an Environment Forum, a means of sharing views, concerns and ideas about the development and implementation of the scheme.  The forum was established last year by HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport (DfT).  The Wildlife Trusts are also represented on a ‘stakeholder group’ chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport or the Transport Minister.

The High Speed Rail scheme is being developed and promoted by HS2 Ltd; a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport, established in 2009 to design and manage implementation of HS2.

HS2 Phase Two
Eight Wildlife Trusts are affected by the proposed High Speed Rail Phase Two route:
• Cheshire Wildlife Trust
• Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
• The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside
• Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust
• Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
• Sheffield Wildlife Trust
• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
• Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

The expected programme for Phase Two is as follows:
• Early 2013 Government announce engagement programme on preferred route
• Early 2014 Consultation on preferred route
• Late 2014 Government’s announcement of the chosen route

HS2 Phase One
In January 2012, following a public consultation on the 'preferred' London to West Midlands route to which around 55,000 responses were received, the Government decided to proceed with HS2's Phase One.  The route, from London to the West Midlands is currently planned to be in operation by 2026. 

The seven Wildlife Trusts affected by the proposed High Speed Rail Phase One route are:
• The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs & Northants
• Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust
• Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust
• Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
• London Wildlife Trust
• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
• Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Tagged with: Living Landscapes