HS2 a risk to rare species, Wildlife Trust says
A report from The Wildlife Trust has said that HS2 could put rare species at risk by levelling “irreplaceable” natural habitats, including nature reserves.
The organisation has urged the government to "rethink" and come up with a "greener" strategy if work on HS2 is to recommence.
A government review into the high-speed rail network was commissioned in August last year, with its findings set to be published in the coming weeks and a decision forthcoming on whether to proceed with, or abandon, the project.
The Wildlife Trust says that its report is the “most comprehensive” review of the environmental impact on HS2 so far, having collated information from 14 local trusts.
Ancient woodlands, nature reserves and sites of Special Scientific Interest could all be affected if the HS2 network materialises as planned.
The Wildlife Trust's campaigns and policy director, Nikki Williams 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.”
HS2 Ltd moved to reassure campaigners by saying that a "green corridor" along the railway will be formed to ensure the natural environment is respected, with work already having been undertaken to remove animals away from at-risk areas and into new, safer habitats.
As part of the green corridor plans, 1.5 square miles of wildlife habitat will be provided between Birmingham and London where the first leg of the network will run, alongside 3.4 square miles of new woodlands; which HS2 Ltd claims is more than double the amount of land which will be adversely affected by the link.