BBOWT says HS2 not on the ‘right lines’

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.

7 comments to “BBOWT says HS2 not on the ‘right lines’”
  1. I also wanted to say that we have until May 16th to make our views known to the parliamentary select committee who are discussing various aspects of highspeed rail. if as many people as possible can contact the parliamentary select committee and perhaps mention the ‘on the right lines charter’ as a positive and democratic step forward we may get our voice heard by those in power. Don’t let big businesses be the only ones who get heard by this parliamentary group. Any one interested in nature and ecology and democracy should should try to get their voice heard in support of the right lines charter.

  2. HS2 cannot be directly compared to the M40 or HS1 with regard to environmental impact as I am sure John knows.

  3. Clicking the main link given gives a “file not found” error. Mind you, clicking any link on this website usually gives a “clue not found” error anyway.

  4. This article is absolutely right. See the chiltern society website for photos of many of the nature reserves affected

      Who could have supposed that both red kites and buzzards would thrive and colonise so rapidly around the open gaping wound in the Chiltern scarp where the M.40 ripped its way through the chalk? Yet already the raw cliffs, stark white each side of a cutting, twice the width of that proposed, are greening over as Nature reclaims the site.That there are so many predators must mean that prey, both mammels and invertibrates, are becoming more abundant, apparently unconcerned by the speeding traffic- and consequent fumes.

      Of course, both Motorways and railways,with the disturbance of uncontrolled public (and dog) access denied, have long been regarded as “green corridors” even into towns-so that the recent photo of a fox emerging from the escalator at Walthamstow Central tube station should come as no surprise .

      Two other recently published pictures are also relevent.
      One shows cattle grazing quietly beside HS1 in Kent while a Eurostar train passes just beyond their fence-(of course, they could have a special breed of deaf/ blind cows specially bred for the location:-although I rather doubt that.)
      The second is a “before and after” photograph of a construction site on Hs1.
      One scene shows a green, tree lined meadow basking in the sunshine. The other scene shows track, piles of stone ballast and lines of trucks laden with materials together with diggers, contractor’s huts etc. The work has started in earnest! It’ s obviously very busy.
      Perhaps the most surprising thing about it is the fact that the second image of Industry and bustle was actually taken first. The “untouched meadow” is in fact, a recent view of the site restored, with no trace remaining of the previous frenetic activity.

      Perhaps it isn’t altogether surprising. After all, is it not true that both the Habitats mentioned which are supposedly threatened by the HS line are post industrial sites, former claypits and gravel diggings,which have reverted to” nature “by a combination of time and good management?

      Once built, man made features do not necessarily defile a landscape. They may actually complement or enhance it. Do the twin Forth bridges spoil the estuary? Does the Ribblehead Viaduct not complement the Peak, the Waterloo Bridge and the Millenium Footbridge the Thames and even the industrial style Thames Barrier and the concrete Medway road and rail crossings have their functional attraction. Around them Nature heals and absorbs them into itself. They become an accepted part of the scene.

      Certainly with the possibility of a scheme of such proportions as HS2 there are genuine concerns.
      All the more need then for consultation and debate between the parties , as others have been urging , so that if the project goes ahead, it does so in the least disruptive form.
      This is in part what BBOWT is urging, surely.
      Consultation, not constant confrontation and denial must be a better course.

      But, as also been said before, false and exaggerated prophecies of doom and destruction will undermine the genuine and legitimate worries and ultmately be laughed out of court- and deservedly so.

      • thanks for your thoughtful comment john. There are 10 charitable organisations atleast supporting the ‘right lines charter’ including friends of the earth and campaign to protect rural england. i have read about it on the chiltern society website. Anyone who thinks that everybody who is against the current hs2 plan is a nimby should read about it. Its talking about proper democratic ways to establist goals for our transport system, where priorities are not just economic but ecological and joined up across the whole of the transport system. Don’t judge this to be a nimby campaign – when you have read about it you will want to support it.

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