HS2 could threaten irreplaceable natural habitats, report warns

HS2 could threaten irreplaceable natural habitats, report warns
HS2 risks dividing and destroying "huge swathes" of "irreplaceable" natural habitats, including 108 ancient woodlands, a report has warned.

The Wildlife Trust said the high-speed rail line linking London and northern England could wipe out rare species.

The group saying if the project - currently on hold - goes ahead a "greener" approach is needed.

HS2 Ltd said its railway will respect the environment through the creation of a "green corridor" along the route.

The government commissioned a review into HS2 in August and is set to decide in the coming weeks whether to proceed.

The Wildlife Trust said its report - which uses data from 14 local trusts affected by the plans - is the "most comprehensive" assessment of the environmental damage the high-speed rail line could cause.

It claims HS2 could have a significant impact on hundreds of nature reserves, sites of Special Scientific Interest and ancient woodlands.

The organisation fears rare species such as the Dingy Skipper Butterfly could become extinct in some local habitats.

Barn Owls and the endangered White Clawed Crayfish could also be impacted by the project, it added.

Image caption The Wildlife Trust fears the Dingy Skipper Butterfly could be wiped out by the project s development

The Wildlife Trust called on the government to "stop and rethink".

Nikki Williams, the Wildlife Trusts director of campaigns and policy, said: "HS2 will destroy precious carbon-capturing habitats if it s allowed to continue in its current form.

"It will damage the very ecosystems that provide a natural solution to the climate emergency."

She labelled HS2 s proposed measures "amateurish".

Hilary McGrady, director general of National Trust, said HS2 Ltd has "a vital responsibility to lead by example" and "must not end up cutting corners at the expense of the environment".

Image caption A computer generated image of an HS2 train

HS2 said it has carried out extensive work to relocate animals, such as the Great Crested Newt, away from sites and into newly-created habitats.

The company said the "green corridor" will deliver a railway that "respects" the natural environment.

According to the company s website, 3.4 square miles (9 sq km) of new woodlands - made up of seven million trees and shrubs - will be created along the first phase of the project between Birmingham and London.
News Topics :
Stephen Barclay told the BBC s Andrew Marr Show that the project was vital for levelling up the UK s transport network and improving capacity. The Brexit secretary s comments...
Thousands of wild butterflies have had their temperatures taken by researchers who hope the results could help safeguard the species future. A team from the University of Cambridge and...
Mr Packham said that the Oakervee review into the project s spiralling costs and delays was compromised, incomplete and flawed . The review strongly advised against cancelling HS2, saying it would...
Protecting nature will be at the heart of the UK’s recovery from the Covid virus, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said. Speaking to environmental organisations he said that leaving the...
There is overwhelming evidence that the costs of HS2 are out of control and its benefits overstated, the deputy chair of its review panel has said. Lord Berkeley said the...