HS2 must not be at the expense of the natural environment
HS2 is coming to Derbyshire
HS2 Phase 2 will connect Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds and will pass through Derbyshire. We are concerned that the route could adversely affect our local biodiversity.
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Our Carr Vale Nature Reserve near Bolsover will be directly affected, yet it is one of the most important bird reserves in Derbyshire, with regular sightings of rarities. Around 150 different bird species are recorded on the reserve each year. This wetland site also provides crucial habitat for grass snakes and a number of dragonflies, including county rarities such as red-veined darter and common hawker. The reserve is within the 1km corridor that will be created around the line during construction and so could be temporarily affected while it is being built.
31 Local Wildlife Sites are also within the 1km corridor and nine of these are likely to be directly impacted. The exact impacts are still unclear, but could be significant.
Four Local Nature Reserves are also within the corridor and two will be directly affected.
The plans may also impact on the coherence of our ‘ecological network’ and could result in wildlife sites becoming more isolated. This is contrary to our vision to create a ‘Living Landscape’ for Derbyshire where wildlife has the space to thrive and disperse through a joined up network of sites.
What are we doing?
- We are working with other Wildlife Trusts affected by the proposals to lobby for the best outcomes for the natural environment.
- We are encouraging HS2 Ltd to make decisions based on the best available environmental evidence. To help with this we have already provided HS2 with data sets showing the location of Derbyshire’s important wildlife sites and landscapes in a broad corridor along the route of HS2 Phase 2. Now HS2 Ltd's route has been published we can carry out a more detailed analysis to understand the likely impacts of the scheme and this will form the basis of our campaign strategy.
- We will also be talking to MPs in the county whose constituencies are likely to be affected by the line to raise awareness of the impact on wildlife.
- For many months, The Wildlife Trusts and other environmental groups have been asking HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport (DfT) to establish an ‘Environment Forum’ as a means of sharing views and concerns and ideas about the development and implementation of the scheme. This Forum has been set up and has Wildlife Trust representation. We are also represented on a ‘stakeholder group’ chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport or the Transport Minister.
- We will make sure that our members and the general public are kept informed of the likely impacts on wildlife and we will help you to engage with the consultation process.
- We will review and respond to all emerging consultation documents and argue strongly for mitigation and full compensation for any adverse impacts on the natural environment. We will also object to any proposals that would damage or destroy important sites for nature conservation.
How you can help
A greener vision for HS2
The Wildlife Trusts own research shows that investment in green infrastructure, habitat restoration and creation as part of HS2 is both affordable (within the scale of the overall budget for the project) and cost-effective.
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To demonstrate this the Wildlife Trusts affected by Phase 1 and 2 of HS2 have identified and mapped habitat creation opportunities along the route. These areas were subsequently refined to identify the areas where the opportunity for nature restoration is greatest and most cost-effective to devise a strategic corridor (or stepping stones) of habitat that would reconnect fragmented habitats and strengthen local ecological networks.
This work has been published in summary form and as a longer Reference report. You can read a copy of the full report here. It shows how a ribbon of natural areas, wild havens, green bridges and cycle ways could be created along the corridor of the HS2 route. Initial costings suggest that environmental restoration on this scale could be achieved with less than 1% of HS2’s overall budget of £42bn and a Cost Benefit Analysis undertaken by researchers at Newcastle University show that the benefits of restoring nature and providing access will outweigh the costs.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that people are part of nature; everything we value ultimately comes from it and everything we do impacts upon it.The Wildlife Trust