HS2 must not fail nature

Thursday 23rd January 2014

Park Hall Nature ReservePark Hall under threat

The last stage in the UK judicial process yesterday saw the remaining challenges to Phase 1 of the High Speed Rail link (HS2) dismissed.

In response to this news, Nick Hammond, Interim Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, said: “We are still very concerned that due process is carried out in the planning of HS2. It’s particularly important to assess the undoubted environmental impact properly.”

Nationally, The Wildlife Trusts’ initial analysis suggests that more than 360 important wildlife sites are at risk along the whole route. In the first phase alone four Wildlife Trust reserves, including Park Hall in East Birmingham, 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), more than 50 ancient woodlands and numerous local wildlife sites will be seriously affected.

Conservation organisations warn that it is important that the project does not fall dramatically short of protecting and enhancing our natural heritage.

Nick Hammond added: “We know that these are difficult times for the economy and job creation is urgently needed in the West Midlands, but this should not be done at any cost. Any new infrastructure project must ensure there is more wildlife and not less by the time it is complete. HS2 is an opportunity to pioneer the example of minimum damage - and maximum repair - for nature. In doing that urban areas must not be short-changed, so that any new sites for nature are created within the conurbation for the people who live and work there.

“The Government must take the lead by communicating a compelling and ambitious vision for how HS2 will benefit nature and people’s connection to it, not just capacity, and jobs and journey times.”
  

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Tagged with: Transport, Ancient woodlands, HS2, Park Hall