Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust is challenging the Government’s proposals for high speed rail which threatens 160 wildlife sites between London and Birmingham.
The Wildlife Trust is part of an alliance of major national charities calling for a national transport strategy that takes account of environmental impacts.
Nine groups including the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Woodland Trust have signed The Right Lines Charter which sets out guidelines for high speed rail development
Philippa Lyons, chief executive of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust says: “As it stands, HS2 is on track to deliver a damaged natural environment. We need efficient and sustainable transport systems but they must not be achieved at the expense of the environment.
“The proposed HS2 route will fragment the landscape, threaten important wildlife sites and undermine action to support nature’s recovery. Breaking up habitats is one of the biggest causes of wildlife loss, and the Government seems to want to do this in spite of its ambition to be ‘green’,” says Philippa.
“You would expect a project of this magnitude to have a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment, looking at all aspects of the project, but the Government has not done this.”
The proposed route threatens to irreparably damage several important wildlife sites in Buckinghamshire including Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve, the Colne Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest and 10 ancient woodlands.
“We are responding in the strongest terms to the HS2 proposal, and urge everyone who cares for local wildlife to complete the HS2 questionnaire and write to their MP. It doesn’t matter where people live, their opinions still count.” says Philippa.
The seven Wildlife Trusts affected by the High Speed Rail route are the London Wildlife Trust, Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs, Northants & Peterborough, the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.