HS2: what's the damage?

| 16th January 2020
High speed train speeding by in a blur
HS2 will shorten commuter trips from London to cities like Birmingham and Manchester
New report reveals exorbitant cost to nature.

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The vast scale of the destruction and impact that HS2 will cause to nature has been unveiled in a new report published by The Wildlife Trusts.

What’s the damage?  Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ is the most comprehensive assessment of the environmental damage that HS2 will cause.

It assesses the broad range of impacts across all phases of HS2 on protected wildlife sites, species and landscape restoration projects.

Extinction 

The report shows that HS2 will divide and destroy huge swathes of irreplaceable natural habitat and important protected wildlife sites up the length of England. It draws on data from fourteen Wildlife Trusts affected by the current plans, other charities and landowners along the route. 

This will cause permanent loss of nature, increased fragmentation of wild places, and the local extinction of endangered species.

Nikki Williams, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of campaigns and policy said: “The figures are grim and the reality is worse. The potential loss of so many really important wild places and the wildlife that depends on them has never been revealed before – nor has the damage that will be done to taxpayer-funded, nature recovery projects.

"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.

"The data also shows that HS2 Ltd’s proposed mitigation and compensation is inadequate and the small measures that they have suggested are inappropriate – amateurish suggestions of paltry measures in the wrong places. Nature and our climate are already in big trouble and we must not make a dire situation even worse – that’s why we are calling on the Prime Minister to stop and rethink the entire development.”

New approach

The Wildlife Trusts believe that if HS2 has to go ahead, a new approach is needed – one that, in keeping with current government commitments, takes a greener approach which leaves the natural world in a better condition than it was before.

Nikki Williams added: “The Government has pledged to create a Nature Recovery Network – a commitment to reverse wildlife’s decline by creating more habitat and green arteries that allow nature to spread and thrive once more.

"Developments like HS2 should not be a permanent barrier to wildlife – they should be designed to enhance, not harm, the environment. It’s not too late to stop and rethink now – before HS2 creates a scar that can never heal.”

The Wildlife Trusts’ report ‘What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ can be downloaded here

The Wildlife Trusts are urging people to send a message to the Prime Minister – stop and rethink! 

Greener vision 

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 only be seen as a start to delivering a necessarily more ambitious vision.

The Wildlife Trusts are deeply concerned at reports that HS2 has removed its intention to “minimise the combined effect of the project” on climate change and the environment from its policy.

This Article

This article is based on a press release from The Wildlife Trusts. 

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