HS2 – the hidden cost to Britain’s wildlife
The new rail line threatens 350 special habitats, 50 ancient woods that cant be replaced, 30 river corridors, 24 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and hundreds of other important areas. Is this progress?
More than 350 wildlife sites, including nature reserves, ancient woodlands and wetlands that are home to some of Britain’s rarest species, are seriously threatened by the high-speed rail link.
The HS2 project in both its phases could affect wildlife in an area the roughly the size of Dorset. Among the sites that could be directly damaged or indirectly affected are a national nature reserve, 10 county wildlife trust reserves, about 50 ancient woods, 30 river corridors, 24 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and hundreds of other wildlife habitats. Among the rare or scarcer species at risk are the small blue butterfly, long-eared owl, stag beetle, great crested newt, purple hairstreak butterfly and Bechstein’s bat.
Strong campaigns against the impact of phase one to Birmingham are already being fought.
A powerful lobby is building against the routes, or even against the idea of such a hugely expensive scheme.
Many in the conservation world are also concerned about the line ruining “living landscapes”, where much has been done to join up wildlife sites.
There are influential MPs now among those concerned at the potential impact including Cheryl Gillan the Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham
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