Environmental activists denounce 'beginner' HS2 mitigation measures

HS2 Section 2b crosses Rothwell Nation Park in Yorkshire [Photo © Danny Hill]

The Wildlife Trusts, which compiled the report, condemn the HS2 eco-mitigation measures as being amateurish, paltry and misplaced.

The report – What’s the injury? Why HS2 will value nature an excessive amount of * – claims to be probably the most complete evaluation of the environmental injury that HS2 will trigger.

HS2 Ltd referred to as the report "inaccurate and deceptive".

Drawing on information from 14 Wildlife Trusts alongside the route, in addition to the Nationwide Belief, Woodland Belief, RSPB and Chilterns Conservation Board, the report assesses a spread of impacts throughout all phases of HS2 at protected wildlife websites, species and panorama restoration initiatives.

He says that HS2's present proposals for a £ 100bn + Y-shaped high-speed prepare line connecting London, Birmingham and Manchester / Leeds will threat shedding or having a major impression:

5 wildlife sanctuaries of worldwide significance, protected by British legislation
33 websites of particular scientific curiosity protected by UK legislation
693 categorised native wildlife websites
21 designated native nature reserves
18 Wildlife Belief nature reserves – many are additionally designated wildlife areas
108 irreplaceable historical forests.

The report says that HS2 engineers' proposals to mitigate and compensate for these losses are "usually insufficient and inappropriate." For instance, they don’t look like spatially deliberate or tailored to the wants of native species and habitats, which leads to proposals reminiscent of planting timber on current areas of semi-improved impartial meadows wealthy in wildlife; wetland mitigation on current excessive worth wetland areas; or mitigation proposals on remoted and unconnected websites. "

Nikki Williams, director of campaigns and coverage for the Wildlife Trusts, stated, "The numbers are bleak and the truth is worse. The potential lack of so many actually vital wilderness areas and the wildlife that will depend on them has by no means been revealed earlier than – nor the injury that will likely be accomplished to taxpayer-funded conservation initiatives. HS2 will destroy priceless carbon seize habitats whether it is allowed to proceed in its present type – it’s going to injury the very ecosystems that present a pure resolution to the local weather emergency.

"The information additionally present that the mitigation and compensation supplied by HS2 Ltd is insufficient and that the small measures they recommended are inappropriate – options from derisory measures lovers to the flawed locations. Nature and our local weather are already in nice bother and we should not worsen a dire scenario – this is the reason we ask the Prime Minister to cease and rethink the entire of improvement. "

The introduction to the Wildlife Trusts report says: "HS2 is a large infrastructure mission, which can minimize and divide England's pure habitats in half, from London to Manchester and Leeds. Regardless of this , the British authorities has not undertaken a strategic environmental evaluation, which might have required an in-depth investigation into the environmental impacts of the HS2 street and the consideration of viable options. Environmental statements for HS2 have been significantly inadequate when it comes to data, surveys, impression evaluation and mitigation and compensation proposals. It’s unclear why a mission of this magnitude ought to have totally different guidelines from smaller initiatives in relation to offering an satisfactory impression evaluation and making certain that each one essential environmental information is obtainable onibles in time to tell good decision-making. "

HS2 replied: "The Woodland Trusts report is inaccurate and deceptive. The struggle towards local weather change should be based mostly on info. All main wildlife organizations agree that local weather change is the best menace to wildlife and habitats within the UK By offering a greener technique of journey, HS2 helps to struggle local weather change.

"The variety of websites offered within the Wildlife Trusts report as" prone to loss or important impression "shouldn’t be actual. It seems to be merely an inventory of all websites inside 500 m There was no proof of great impression on these websites, for instance, the trusts declare that 33 websites of particular scientific curiosity are affected by the mission. In reality, the quantity is of 14, of which solely 2 are in section one.

"We’re additionally implementing tailored mitigation plans, together with new habitats and 16 specifically designed" inexperienced bridges ", lined with plantations and 25 miles of tunnel.

"Investing in a state-of-the-art excessive pace line is important for the way forward for low carbon transport within the UK, it’s going to present a lot wanted rail capability throughout the nation and makes an integral a part of rail initiatives within the North and Midlands, which can assist rebalance the British economic system. "

* The total report, What’s the injury? Why HS2 will value nature an excessive amount of, is obtainable at www.wildlifetrusts.org

A proposed viaduct crosses the Broadwater Lake nature reserve in Hertfordshire [Photo © Tim Hill]

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