HS2 decision will destroy precious wild places

HS2 decision will destroy precious wild places

© Adrian Royston

Today, 11 February 2020, the government gave the green light to the High Speed 2 rail project, without even acknowledging the devastating impact on the hundreds of precious wild places and the wildlife that depends on them – that lie in the path of the route.

The Wildlife Trusts recently published a report evidencing the vast scale of the destruction and impact that HS2 will cause to nature. 'What’s the damage?  Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ assessed the broad range of impacts across all phases of HS2 on protected wildlife sites, species and landscape restoration projects.

Last week, on 4 February 2020, The Wildlife Trusts delivered a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the project to be reappraised. The letter was signed by 66,000 people.

Wildlife Trust CEOs deliver the letter to Downing Street

The Trust's Broadwater Lake Nature Reserve, a site of national importance for wetland birds, will be bisected and gravely impacted by the high-speed rail tracks. HS2's initial mitigation measures are inappropriate and in its current form, the project will not be able to achieve its commitment of no biodiversity net loss. 

Nikki Williams, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of campaigns and policy, says:

“Nature is paying too high a price for HS2. We urged the Government to reconsider in the light of The Wildlife Trusts’ report which evidenced the serious risk that HS2 poses to nature – and to take notice of over 66,000 people who wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to review HS2. Today’s announcement means that it is more critical than ever that the whole project is redesigned – before HS2 creates a scar that can never heal."

It is more critical than ever that HS2 is redesigned - before it creates a scar that can never heal.

“It is vital that HS2 does not devastate or destroy irreplaceable meadows, ancient woodlands and internationally important wetlands that are home to a huge range of wildlife, from barn owls to butterflies. Green and sustainable transport is vital, but the climate emergency will not be solved by making the nature crisis worse.

“As HS2 contractors get on with bulldozing and building, the public can help wildlife by being alert to works near them. Contact your local Wildlife Crime officer if you believe HS2 Ltd or contractors are undertaking works without permission. Wildlife Trusts along the route will continue to advise and engage with HS2 Ltd locally.”

Broadwater Lake Nature Reserve

Broadwater Lake Nature Reserve © Tim Hill

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust will continue to campaign for a greener and more sustainable approach with appropriate mitigation and a biodiversity net gain.