Environmental Impact of Phase 2 – intitial assesment

The Independent on Sunday has looked at the hidden cost to Britain’s wildlife from HS2. They say

“New rail line threatens 350 unique habitats, 50 irreplaceable ancient woods, 30 river corridors, 24 Sites of Special Scientific Interest and hundreds of other important areas. Is this really progress?”

According to the The Wildlife Trusts there initial assesment, more than 200 important wildlife sites lie within a one kilometre corridor centred on the proposed route and could suffer as a result. Of these, at least 65 are at direct risk of impact from the line itself.

The nine Wildlife Trusts affected by the proposed High Speed Rail phase two route are:
• Cheshire Wildlife Trust
• Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
• The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside
• Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust
• Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
• Sheffield Wildlife Trust
• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
• Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
• Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Examples of wild places which may be affected:

Across Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside:
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside has been dismayed by the news that an offshoot linking the line to the West Coast Mainline in Wigan, runs within metres of Lightshaw Meadows nature reserve, near Wigan, and near to the Abram Flash SSSI that forms part of it.

The proposed route runs along the Heybroook Corridor, in which that nature reserve lies; and it also crosses, and so further fragments, the historic Chat Moss area – passing Little Wooden Moss nature reserve and particularly close to Holcroft Moss SSSI, and not far from Risley Moss SSSI. In fact the route would split the two SSSIs which would prevent plans to join them and form a larger protected area in the future. The Heybrook Corridor and the historic Chat Moss area form major components of the Great Manchester Wetland Living Landscape area.

The proposed route through the city of Manchester has the potential to impact on internationally and nationally vulnerable species; most notably roosting bats and, perhaps, breeding sites of the rare Black Redstart.

In Nottinghamshire:
Sellers Wood SSSI, a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve is within the corridor.
Bulwell Wood SSSI is right on the edge of the centre line.
Bogs Farm Quarry is a SSSI and a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve directly impacted by the centre line. The site is a complex mix of wet and dry, acidic and calcareous habitats.

Annesley Woodhouse Quarries SSSI is a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve and is less than 100m from the proposed centre line. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust fought for 10 years to get this site designated as an amphibian SSSI and to protect it from landfill. The site is important for its calcareous grassland and for breeding and overwintering wetland birds. The adjacent land directly affected is an important site for birds. The proposed route runs straight through the magnesian limestone area of the County – which already has the most seriously threatened and fragmented groups of calcareous grassland Local Wildlife Sites.

In Yorkshire there are three Wildlife Trust reserves which will be affected: Woodhouse / Woodhouse Washlands, where the route goes along the eastern boundary and so direct impacts are expected, Water Haigh Woodland Park where the line goes straight through the middle, and Rothwell Country Park.

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