HS2 – “What’s the Damage?”

HS2 – “What’s the Damage?”

Ecosystems permanently damaged. Irreplaceable habitats destroyed. Taxpayer's money spent on restoration wasted. Wildlife extinctions at a local level. This could be nature’s fate if the current plans for HS2 continue...

A new report published by The Wildlife Trusts reveals, for the first time, the vast scale of the destruction and impact that HS2 will cause to nature.

Whilst HS2 does not directly impact countryside here in Worcestershire, data from the areas covered by the 14 Wildlife Trusts affected by the current plans show that HS2 will divide and destroy huge swathes of irreplaceable wildlife habitat.

The report finds that HS2’s current proposals will risk the loss of, or significantly impact:

  • 5 Wildlife refuges of international importance, protected by UK law
  • 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest which are protected by UK law
  • 693 Classified Local Wildlife Sites
  • 21 Designated Local Nature Reserves
  • 26 Large landscape-scale initiatives, including:
      • 4  Nature Improvement Areas awarded £1.7 million of public money
      • 22  Living Landscapes – partnership schemes to restore nature
  • 18 Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves – many are also designated wildlife sites
  • 108 Ancient woodlands
  • Other irreplaceable habitats such as veteran trees, wood pasture, old meadows
  • Extensive further areas of wider natural habitat
  • Barn owls and endangered wildlife such white-clawed crayfish, willow tit and lizard orchid. Rarities like dingy skipper may become locally extinct.

How does this square with the Government’s pledge to create a Nature Recovery Network that will reverse wildlife’s decline?

How can this be the right precedent for our Government to set for any future development and major infrastructure needs?

Early on in the planning stages of HS2, The Wildlife Trusts developed A Greener Vision for HS2. This report provides the large-scale thinking lacking from current HS2 Ltd plans and, if considered, could provide the net gain for wildlife that is so vital to allow our natural world to recover. While HS2 Ltd has proposed a green corridor along the route, it is far from adequate and can be seen only as a start to delivering a necessarily more ambitious vision.

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Prime Minister to stop and rethink the whole development. Please join our campaign by signing a letter to Boris Johnson.