1. ITV Report

'HS2 destroying huge swathes of natural habitat' claims new report

A new report suggests that HS2 could destroy natural areas of wildlife. Credit: HS2/PA Wire

A new report from The Wildlife Trust claims that HS2 will impose a significant threat to large areas of natural habitat.

The new report collated data from 14 Wildlife Trusts affected by proposals of the new high-speed railway, which is set to link the south and north of England.

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The report reveals that HS2's current plans will significantly impact or even result in the loss of the following:

  • Five wildlife refuges of international importance.
  • 33 sites of special scientific interest.
  • 693 classified local wildlife sites.
  • 21 designated local nature reserves.
  • 26 large landscape-scale initiatives (including four nature improvement areas awarded 1.7 million of public money).
  • 18 Wildlife Trust nature reserves.
  • 108 "irreplaceable" ancient woodlands.
HS2 will pass through large areas of natural habitat. Credit: PA

The Wildlife Trust has now called for the Government to "stop and rethink" the project.

As Europe's largest project of its kind, HS2 Ltd. has a vital responsibility to lead by example and get this right by delivering a net gain for nature.

We recognise that designing the railway is a long process but plans for HS2 must not end up cutting corners at the expense of the environment.

– Hilary McGrady, Director general of National Trust

HS2 claim that the railway plan aims to tackle climate change in numerous ways.

One of the ways includes creating nine square kilometers of new woodlands, made up of seven million trees and shrubs, and a further four square kilometer of wildlife habitat to be established along the route.

By doing this, HS2 say that the figure of new wildlife habitat will be more than double the amount affected by the project.

HS2 Ltd. say that their plan respects the natural environment. Credit: HS2 Ltd

HS2 also state that the rail line will help cut the number of cars and lorries on the roads and demand for domestic flights, which are all contributing factors to climate change.

HS2 take the environmental cost of construction very seriously. That is why we're delivering an unprecedented programme of tree planting and habitat creation alongside the new railway.

– HS2 Spokesman

The HS2 project is currently under review and the Government is due to make a decision in early February on whether the project continues.