HS2 will cost nature too much...it’s time to stop and rethink

HM Government claimed its ambition was to ‘build the most sustainable high-speed railway of its kind in the world’. Really?

The figures are grim, and the reality is worse. The potential loss of so many really important wild places and the dependent wildlife 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.

Barn Owl - Andy Rouse/2020Vision

Andy Rouse/2020Vision

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 the 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.

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.

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.

C’mon Boris show us just how green your credentials are.

Meanwhile in Shropshire…

The HS2 line doesn’t enter Shropshire, but passes close to the north east of the county near Woore. There, residents are, quite rightly, concerned about the environmental impact of the construction traffic.

But HS2 isn’t the only poorly thought through public infrastructure scheme. Shrewsbury’s own North West Relief Road is a 1970’s solution to the wrong problem. Loss of wildlife and landscape character will far outweigh any short-term benefits. More roads = more traffic.

Shropshire’s declared climate emergency doesn’t feel very urgent…