6th October 2017
The Cheshire Wildlife Trust says farmland species in the county will be "hit hard" by HS2.
Wildlife populations will suffer if plans for HS2 go ahead in their current format, according to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust who say that those behind the high speed rail line have made a “catalogue of errors” by pushing the scheme through too quickly.
In a scathing attack on the plans, the Trust say ecological surveys in Cheshire were rushed and more needs to be done to protect wildlife habitats.
Rachel Giles, Evidence and Planning Manager at the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, says, “Although the objectives of HS2 may be worthy, the reality on the ground is quite different, we believe that in the rush to develop the scheme HS2 Ltd has made a catalogue of errors vastly underestimating the impact to the natural environment.
“There is simply not enough habitat creation to compensate for the destruction of vast swathes of countryside and the knock on effects on the local wildlife which is already struggling to survive.
The shortfalls are breath-taking; HS2 Ltd will need to plant an additional 8.3km of hedgerows, dig a further 28 ponds and create an additional 86.9ha of wildlife habitat if they are going to come close to achieving their objectives.”
There are warning’s South Cheshire could be hit hardest, with the trust outlining specific habitats at risk including mammals such as the water vole, and several bat species.
Image: The confirmed route of Phase 2a and 2b of HS2 was released in July 2017.
Rachel added, “The current plans for Phase 2a show that High Speed Rail is set to push our local wildlife right to the edge as it severs the wildlife corridors and breeding sites used by species to move through the landscape to feed and rear young.
“We have made several recommendations in our report and we are now calling on HS2 Ltd to live up to their promises and give wildlife a fighting chance by creating the extra areas of habitat that are needed to offset the losses.”
Silk News outlined how the confirmed route for Phase 2a, will impact East Cheshire – here.
Plans for the redevelopment of Crewe have also factored in the introduction of a HS2 hub station.
Phase 2 construction is anticipated to begin in 2022.
Image: An example of a veteran oak tree, in the path of HS2 at risk according to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.