High Speed 2 may appear a fait accompli for our ancient woodland along the route, but there is tantalising gossip indicating that all is not well in the HS2 camp.
Despite confirmation that HS2 will go forward there is too much to lose to just walk away and we think there is everything to gain by keeping up the fight.
High Speed 2 is a poster child for major infrastructure; the highest reccuring threat to rare, ancient woodland. For those of you following the recent blogs by our Katharine you will know that we can back this up statistically.
Too often vulnerable woods are put in a position where they are pushed far down the pecking order in the decision-making process. It feels relentless! Especially when the pitch usually includes a plethora of claims for how ‘green’ a concept is going to be – as if destruction of irreplaceable habitats is an acceptable part of their version of ‘green’. Oo it naffs me off!
While fingers remain crossed for a change in the route the Trust has no choice but to keep the negotiations and discussions around the current route’s impact on the environment alive. Our priority here has to be to stand up for effective damage limitation, and mitigation at a landscape scale. We will continue to push HS2 Ltd for a commitment to native trees, both for the proposed 2 million tree planting scheme and mitigation proposals: we want to ensure the tree species chosen are of benefit to local wildlife and people.
We are ready to start influencing the Hybrid Bill. We need to enshrine a way to minimise the wider environmental impact in this Bill, as many more ancient woods stand to be irreparably damaged (24 are less than 50 metres away) by HS2 if we don’t. The wildlife that relies on them for survival depends on us all to do this. We will continue to be part of the Right Lines Charter, working with fellow environmental organisations within this group to ensure a network of different habitats for local wildlife as well as wooded places for people.
And as the ‘Y’ (up to Leeds and Manchester) route becomes clearer we will work hard to influence the next stage of HS2’s development, with an ambition to diminish unreasonable environmental compromises from future plans. We must push departments responsible for infrastructure to understand that truly ‘green’ projects do not include a get-out clause for the destruction of the irreplaceable!
Can we continue to tolerate wild statements such as ‘ancient woodland can be relocated’ and have a future for the wooded places and spaces we love in our landscapes? Put simply, no! So we will not walk away & lick our wounds now the route has been set, we will stay and politely fight on.
Are we doing the right thing? – Happy to hear your thoughts…