Wildlife Trusts urge supporters to respond to the HS2 consultation

Thousands of members of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust have already completed the Government’s consultation questionnaire, and there’s still time for more people to ‘speak up for wildlife’ before the consultation ends on 29 July.

“This week we’re sending more than 2,000 completed forms to the Government, and many people told us they used the online form,” said Philippa Lyons, chief executive of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (pictured with a wheelbarrow of forms).

Philippa Lyons from BBOWT

“We are hugely grateful to our members who responded to the consultation.”

People can go on to the Wildlife Trust’s website, read about the beautiful woodlands and wildflower meadows the route is likely to devastate.

“The Government in its recently published Natural Environment White Paper recognises the need to remove barriers to the movement of wildlife, but HS2 will be just that – a 75metre wide sterile corridor with a core of concrete, steel and gravel,” says Philippa Lyons.

“High Speed 2 is on track to break up dozens of valuable wildlife sites like important chalk streams and ancient woods.”

A significant population of rare Bechstein’s bats, one of the UK’s rarest mammals, is located in woods close to the proposed HS2 route. Radio tracking shows some of the bats move between the woods, which mean they would be affected by HS2.

“This is just one example of the wildlife threatened by the railway,” says Philippa Lyons. “There are also water voles on the River Misbourne, and black hairstreak butterflies in north Bucks.”

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6 comments to “Wildlife Trusts urge supporters to respond to the HS2 consultation”
  1. I was told at the HS2 event by the HS2 people that plans for HS2 in north bucks included proposals to enhance black hairstreak butterflies with the recreation of new suitable habitat for this species, particularly the planting of blackthorn!

    As a member of BBOWT, I have concerns as to how and why the Chief Executive is so badly informed in relation to the proposals being put forward by HS2.

    How can BBOWT properly assess the impacts of the HS2 proposals if theTrust is so poorly informed about the proposals?

    A very sad day for both ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’! 🙁

  2. As a member of BBOWT I was happy to respond; maybe my form is among those pictured.

    Whether my comments were welcomed, however, is uncertain.

    I stated that I was generally in agreement with the need for a radical addition to the rail network and something along the lines of HS2 seems to meet this need .

    I do believe that much more environmental study and planning needs to be done, but best in PARTNERSHIP with those developing the project, not in constant opposition.

    Furthermore, I regret that Philippa Lyons is still repeating out of date and false information regarding for example, the dimensions of the line as it is proposed.

    Once again we see the threat of “a sterile corridor 75m wide…”

    Ms. Lyons, have you looked at the official HS2 technical document “HS2 Railway Cross-Section” which has been freely available at the series of Roadshows? (Any idea of a sterile,” vegetation free” zone idea was abandoned many months ago!)

    The document, HSRFC12, states- “Typically the distance between fences would be 22 metres wide on level ground…”and within this space would be” two sets of tracks…, the masts to hold overhead power lines over the track; communication cables; drainage; and an access road alongside the track for maintenance purposes wherever practical.”

    * The tracks would rest on a ballasted trackbed just 11.5m wide, (about 1.5m/ 5feet wider than a typical railway, to allow for the higher passing speeds.) *

    “Putting the line in cutting or on embankment would require the overall width to be greater due to the need for a cutting or embankment slope, The slope would be landscaped and grassed or planted with vegetation depending on what was agreed as appropriate in any particular location…” An opportunity for participation and input from BBOWT, perhaps, maybe a chance for positive involvement in assisting in the evolution of “green corridors” alongside the line and safe from human interference.

    Obviously the concerns of many are quite genuine, but overstating the case does little to advance the cause.
    Even in the Stokenchurch Cutting on the M 40, (twice the width of the proposed HS line) the cliffs are turning green as nature reclaims and a food chain re-establishes itself.

    • @John Webber

      Don’t think you can just post this form of reasoned, pragmatic and constructive criticism on this site and get away with it!

        • Thankyou, Peter- and Luke.
          I shall take your remark as a compliment.

          I must confess that when I am confronted with a near unanimous chorus demanding “Stop!”, then I become nervous, especially when the” facts” in support of their case all too often seem to be overstated, exaggerated or just plain wrong.

          There are very few issues where all the virtues can be found on just one side, and when the motives of those proposing even an unpopular course of action are demonised and their actions are dismissed as being corrupt, then it is important that a different viewpoint is held up for examination.

          If we all agree too readily and make it a crusading campaign, then there is a risk of the “consensus” developing into an uncritical mob.

          If the case presented by “Stop” is valid and based on real unvarnished facts, then fine; it deserves to succeed.

          But if it relies on false or overblown “evidence”, then it will deserve contempt.

          As I said before, whatever the final outcome, we will all have to live with the result.(and with each other !)

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