HS2 decision will destroy precious wild places - Wildlife Trusts call for a redesign

Today 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.
Swallow tail butterfly - Vicky Nall

Swallow tail butterfly. Image by: Vicky Nall.

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, 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.

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive says: “Nature is paying too high a price for HS2. We urged the Government to re-consider 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 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.”