On Friday 21st December 2018 the public consultation into likely environmental impacts of the building and operating of Phase 2b of HS2 closes – it covers Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.
HS2 Ltd’s own figures for the latest phase of the Phase 2b route show it will have a devastating impact on important places for wild plants and animals. 12 highly protected areas for nature conservation known as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 111 Local Wildlife Sites and 19 ancient woodlands will be seriously damaged.
Katherine Hawkins, Senior Living Landscapes Officer at The Wildlife Trusts says:
“HS2 Ltd’s work on this latest phase of the HS2 route is derisory in its assessment of the environmental impact. It is incomplete, there isn’t enough detail, there are significant omissions, it lacks sufficient proposals to compensate for nature’s loss, and to make matters even worse, there’s very little information about the impact on species. On the evidence, we have been given, this phase will result in an unacceptable level of damage to wildlife along the route.”
Wild and precious landscapes including ancient woods and rare peat bogs are under threat from the latest phase of the high-speed rail link – wildlife such as barn owls, otters, skylarks and endangered water voles will lose their homes as 176 miles of track is constructed.
Today The Wildlife Trusts challenge HS2 Ltd to create and restore more wild places than are being destroyed and damaged by the construction of the route, and to save irreplaceable habitats like wetlands, and ancient woodlands from destruction.
It will have a devastating impact on important places for wild plants and animals
Katherine Hawkins continues:
“Due to the inadequate environmental statement, it’s hard to understand how HS2 Ltd will compensate for the damage that it will cause. Furthermore, it is unacceptable that HS2 Ltd has only committed to ‘no net loss’ for biodiversity. At this rate, there will be a huge loss of wild habitats and species along the entire route of this £56 billion project at a time when HS2 Ltd should be committing to creating a ‘net gain’ for nature. Wildlife is in serious trouble – more than half of the UK's species are in decline. The principle of net gain is recommended by Government planning policy guidance – this means that nature should be left in a better state following a development – and not in a worse condition, otherwise nature’s decline will never be reversed.
“We’re urging HS2 to avoid destroying irreplaceable habitats – and we’re calling on them to take more action to help wildlife recover by creating and restoring wild places on a landscape scale. HS2 could do this by establishing a wide ribbon of wild countryside on either side of the line, with new natural places for people to enjoy and for wildlife to thrive in, alongside farming and other land uses. We want to see landscape-scale plans for nature’s recovery, and we’ve shown in our Greener Vision report how this could be achieved for much less than 1% of HS2’s original budget. By taking a more strategic approach to restoring the natural environment, HS2 Ltd could make a real contribution towards securing nature’s recovery.”
Please see the examples of wild places under threat and concerns raised by individual Wildlife Trusts along the route of HS2 Phase 2b further below. The Wildlife Trusts’ Greener Vision for HS2 is here.
We’re urging HS2 to avoid destroying irreplaceable habitats