The Wildlife Trusts today express disappointment as the first phase of High Speed 2 (HS2) is given the go-ahead by the Transport Secretary. 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 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. This includes tunnels in various locations. Constructing tunnels will not necessarily prevent damage to fragile habitats it 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 http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2
Bechstein's Bat © Wikipedia