HS2, round 2

So we are barely out of the draft Environmental Statement consultation for Phase 1 of High Speed 2 and Boom! We are launched into the Y route consultation.

The Y route is the section of HS2 that will link up the north of the country into the current route proposed between London and Birmingham. Yesterday we were informed by Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport that we have now entered a 6 month consultation phase that will close on January 31st 2014.

The second half of the consultation will be accompanied by a series of public information events that will run from mid-October 2013 to early January 2014.

A typical event

These events are where you can review local information and speak directly with HS2 Ltd staff about the proposals. And if things run the same way as on phase 1, you will also be able to meet fellow campaigners at these events too. (Though we suggest you seek them out before then.  Stop HS2 are good for putting you in touch)

When it comes to these information sessions, the Woodland Trust recommends that you prepare for the conversations you will need to have about the local ancient woods and important trees that stand directly on or close to this route. The current proposed route from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds will cause direct loss to 12 more ancient woods with a further 22 ancient woods remaining at ‘indirect’ risk. 5 ancient trees are also directly threatened by the Y-route of HS2.

Is yours one of them? Or are you just not sure? Then drop us a line at campaigning@woodlandtrust.org.uk  We can help you.

The Woodland Trust has produced a toolkit to inform you about why ancient woods are of national importance and irreplaceable. It will help you to protect the woods and trees affected by the proposed route. It also shows you what your local community can do to include woods and trees in your plans and campaigns. And acts as a ‘crib sheet’ when you are meeting HS2 Ltd or responding to written consultations.

The toolkit includes complimentary, downloadable factsheets to help with explaining the impact of High Speed 2 on wildlife and why we need woods and trees in our landscapes. Toolkits are available for free from the Woodland Trust campaigning team.

With this announcement there are now 33 directly affected ancient woods for the entire route, covering a combined area of 622ha – almost three times the size of London’s Olympic Park. Plus 8 ancient trees, which are habitats in their own right.

These woods need you to be their voice. Please stand with the thousands of others already fighting for ancient woodland along phase 1 of the route and help us to try and stop this destruction of our natural, irreplaceable habitats. If we do not challenge this route, HS2 can never truly be ‘green’ transport and the woods will be destroyed forever.


Read our press release


About Nikki Williams

Head of Campaigning for the Woodland Trust
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13 Responses to HS2, round 2

  1. Martin Harris says:

    Fine. It’s very clever to suggest catching earlier trains, or asking what saving 25 minutes means, etc, etc. But none of the anti-lobby have come up with any convincing, practical arguments about how we sensibly increase the capacity on the present West Coast Mainline – apart from denying that a capacity problem exists! Why is it that well-meaning, sincere folk who have every right to object to a project that they don’t want, always go one step too far by making ill-founded assertions which fly in the face of the facts? The Railfreight industry has been lobbying Governments for years about the lack of available paths to accommodate more trains, for which they have the demand, and that’s before you start considering the hundreds of passengers unable to get a seat every day. As to widening the existing WCML, please read Rocklad’s post of 13 October again, as to the cost, time and disruption this would cause. It is simply a non-starter.
    As for the money – experience shows that if Governments really want to undertake something, money is always available!
    The Woodland Trust should engage meaningfully with HS2 Ltd and the Department to get the best mitigation possible to protect as much wodland as possible, and ensure that any lost is replaced by a more than eqivalent amount.

  2. Carol Hulme says:

    The HS2 vanity project fails from all aspects, no business or capacity case, environmentally an utter disaster, not to mention people’s homes and lives being ruined for at least the next 20 plus years.I CANNOT understand why CPRE or your organisation haven’t completely rejected this project. .Also, now the DfT has said HS2 is not about speed, a fraction of the money could be spent improving current infrastructure. Lastly, ancient forests are not REPLACEABLE mitigation is a waste of time.. Stand up for the countryside it is supposedly your raison de’tra. PS It’s not ‘green’ either will need loads of mini power stations up and down the line to power it!

    • rocklad says:

      Perhaps you’ve forgotten the hell that was the West Coast Mainline ‘upgrade’ in the noughties? Millions spent for negligible improvement. It seems to me that those suggesting that just improving the current network will suffice clearly aren’t regular rail users, and if they are they clearly don’t look out the window to realise what would be involved. In order to increase capacity in our existing infrastructure it is obvious that the cost would be similarly as huge or more than HS2 – hundreds of Victorian rail and road bridges, cuttings, embankments and tunnels to replace and widen to give the extra capacity required. Thousands of properties affected as their gardens are reduced or buildings demolished. All the trackside woodlands and other habitats lost – often home to rare species as they are largely undisturbed. It would have to happen on multiple routes, affect MORE wild land and take much longer and mean more distruption to existing services than HS2. HS2 has never really been about the speed – that was mistakenly chosen as the attribute that was thought would make it appealing to the public. Speed is more sexy than capacity after all! Woodland Trust should look at suggesting ways to avoid ancient woodland in the HS2 routes, not object outright. Once complete, the environment WILL benefit as overall rail use increases (not just HS2 itself) and vehicles are taken off the road…

  3. Hayden says:

    HS2 is not needed and would be environmentally disastrous, damaging the ecosystem services on which we all depend. If you haven’t already signed the official ‘Say no to HS2’ e-petition to Government and would like to, here’s the link:

  4. I agree with Ben and Rob. The Wodland Trust should seek to get protection for affected sites by lobbying to get the route modified, rather than outright opposition. The country needs HS2 if it is meet the demands for long distance rail travel into this century. Even at present railfreight traffic on the existing West Coast Main Line is being prevented from growing by the lack of capacity, as long-distance and inter-urban passenger trains take more of the available space. Do we really want ever more lorries on our roads?. Simply tinkering with the WCML is not the answer. The last up-grade took 10 years and resulted in continual disruptions to services, with replacement buses being an almost every-weekend occurence, whilst only marginal improvements in services resulted. Truly, a lot of lengthy pain for very little gain! Please work constructively with HS2, rather than against it.

  5. I agree with Ben. I’m a Woodland Trust member, yet I also support HS2. The WT should be campaigning to protect affected woodlands not by opposing HS2 in it’s entirety, but by campaigning for re-routes or more tunnelling. Overall, HS2 will benefit the environment by freeing up capacity on the rail network and thus encouraging more people out of their cars (and out of planes too). Expansion to the road network generally is a much larger threat to our woodlands and their wildlife than a rail line will be. The wider benefits of HS2 will outweigh the negatives, and the Woodland Trust needs to work with that.

  6. Eric Church says:

    It takes around 1:30 to London for me now and if I don’t need to travel at a particularly busy time the costs are very low. The proposed HS2 would take me much longer, I’d first have to travel to Birmingham or Nottingham, surely it will only shorten travel times for a small minority of computers and the odd one off tourist. What a waist of money when there are many more important areas that require findings. I don’t want to start on the environmental impact HS2 will have it’ll just anger and depress me, what are they thinking!

  7. Ben Jephcott says:

    The problem with opposing HS2 in toto is that if we don’t get a new rail line, sooner or later we will get a proposal for a new motorway to parallel the M1 and M6, which would be far wider and more damaging to woodlands and the environment generally. The key reason for HS2 is lack of capacity – demand on the West Coast main line and the main roads is going up, even in the recession. A new rail line is needed, the question should be about the detail of the HS2 proposal and getting the worst aspects of the route changed – there have been changes already, more can be won with the right detailed lobbying – if the design speed was reduced a little then the route can be more curved to go around woods instead of through them, while tunneling should be used in areas beyond the Chilterns. Opposing HS2 outright will end up with a worse deal for the environment and for trees.

  8. edithkl says:

    I think it is naughty of the Sec of State to plough ahead with consultations etc., as if there was not a massive, historic court case going through the Court of Appeal at the moment, which is bound to proceed to the Supreme Court if lost and then to Europe if lost again.


    This hs2actionalliance site (HS2AA) is the site if you want to keep an eye on the court case. Stop HS2 is for other campaigning – also vital of course, but in a way it is giving in to the bullies to co-operate with consultations when the matter is still in court. Yet you have to do it, in case the consultations are deemed legal and not totally premature and thus illegal (major projects cannot proceed without an SEA and there is none for HS2, the “Environmental Statement” being touted is not an SEA).

    The hearing is over, but when will the Judgment emerge? No way of knowing. The case was heard by the Master of the Rolls himself and 2 very senior Appeal judges – because the grounds (that there has been no Strategic Environmental Assessment done as required by the Convention of Biological Diversity 1992 and the derived EU Directive 2001/42/EC) are cutting edge, high drama, environmental law which is being ignored (or not enforced) all over the world with catastrophic consequences for what is left of the natural world we all depend on.

    I find it odd that the newspapers do not mention the Appeal – there were a few headlines on June 10th when it began, but that is all. Yes, it is sub judice – but you can mention that it is happening, and you can describe the grounds of appeal and say and that nothing is final until the last court (in Europe) has said that there was no need for an SEA. Or until the QC leading the charge gets fed up – but I have a feeling he is not going to give up even if the money runs out. This is legal history – he will not care whether he gets paid or not.

  9. Ash says:

    Exactly Jim! Just catch an earlier train!

  10. Ash says:

    So who is going to pay for HS2? Has the chancellor got a secret pot of money? No, it will probably be foreign investment again! Another piece of Britain sold!

    Exactly Jim (Jack)! Just catch an earlier train!

  11. Ash says:

    Does anyone know where the £50 billion (or more) will be coming from? Has the chancellor got a secret stash of funds? Or is some overseas country going to buy yet more British real estate?

    Exactly Jim (Jack)! Get an earlier train!

  12. Jim Clark says:

    From London to Chester at present it takes just two hours via Virgin Trains, I wound think it would be about the same to Manchester etc. How many minutes would HS save on those journeys, not enough to merit £50 billions anyway. As Jack Dee said,” if you want to get to Birmingham a few minutes earlier, then catch an earlier train”

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