An Update on HS2

HS2 is the ambitious High-Speed railway that will connect London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and, according to the government, will provide a fast link from London to the Midlands and the North. The plans have met with strong opposition from many quarters, including wildlife Trusts. The costs have soared from the original estimate of £32 bn to £63bn which will make it the most expensive railway project in the world.

There are two phases to HS2. Phase One will run for 140 miles from Euston Station in London to two stations in Birmingham, Interchange and Curzon Street. The work has already begun in places such as Harvil Road in London and it is planned that the first services will run on the line in 2027. The second phase of the railway will run in a Y shape from Birmingham to Manchester in the Northwest and Leeds in the North with a total mileage of 330 and is planned to be fully running by 2033.

The damage to the environment will be incalculable. Along the route, 93 ancient woodlands will be lost, and historical buildings and archaeological sites will be destroyed. Many people will lose their homes, some only just built. Some of the creatures most affected by the line will be species of bats, some rare, owls, particularly barn owls, great crested newts and, of course, numerous badgers. Many setts either lie directly in the path of the line or on the land needed for storage of equipment etc or will be affected by the noise, dust and vibration from the massive machinery that will be used, and many will lose their feeding grounds.

HS2 have conducted extensive surveys along the route, and have produced impressive maps with the positions of many setts on them. They have obviously done their best to find as many setts as possible, but they do not have the knowledge that the local badger groups have, and it is obvious from looking at both their and our maps that many setts have been missed. We need sett checkers along the whole route and would ask that anybody who would like to help in this way to contact their local badger group. Dominic Dyer, the CEO of the Badger Trust, met with environmentalists of HS2 on Wednesday 10th January to discuss the Trust’s concern about the badgers along the route and will be reporting on the various issues that were discussed.

Anne Bourne

Badger Trust Supporter

01 April 2018