High Speed Rail (HS2) Stop and rethink!

High Speed Rail (HS2) Stop and rethink!

HS2 - stop and rethink!

Ecosystems permanently damaged. Irreplaceable habitats destroyed. Taxpayer's money spent on restoration wasted. Wildlife extinctions at a local level. This could be nature’s fate if the current plans for HS2 continue.

Ancient woodland, lakes, meadows and other important habitats are at risk from HS2 along with the wildlife that calls them home.  In the most comprehensive environmental assessment to date we can reveal the sheer scale of potential damage from HS2.  Our report shows that the deep cut HS2 will make across the landscape could stop nature’s recovery in its tracks. Species such as barn owls, badgers, water voles, willow tits, otters and many more are at risk. You can read a copy of the report below. 

The current approach to HS2 means that a Nature Recovery Network would be impossible; far away from the Wilder Future vision for the UK that we have been campaigning the need for since last year.

The potential damage from HS2 is too great  

As the costs to nature escalate, we’re urging the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to use his power now to stop and rethink the HS2 project, or the scar may never heal.

We are asking people to join our call in asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop and rethink HS2 by signing our letter to him which we will personally deliver to Downing Street. 

Sign our letter to the Prime Minister 

Read the full report

Full report

Read the summary report

Summary Report
In Staffordshire we are set to lose 19 hectares of ancient woodland, as well as other irreplaceable habitats such as veteran trees, ancient hedges and water-meadows untouched for centuries. Even worse, some of these losses will be for temporary works such as construction access.

We know that at least 53 Local Wildlife Sites in Staffordshire will be affected, including very rare inland saltmarsh, and many more important habitats that could deserve local designation. Declining birds such as barn owl, lapwing and snipe will lose their homes".
Kate Dewey, Senior Planning Officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

HS2 and the environment 

Since the route was first announced in 2010, Wildlife Trusts have campaigned to defend wildlife and wild places at risk from the new High Speed train line, trying to secure the best possible outcome for wildlife. 

Early on in the planning stages of HS2, The Wildlife Trusts developed A Greener Vision for HS2. This report provides the large-scale thinking lacking from current HS2 Ltd plans and if considered would provide the net gain for wildlife so vital for allowing our natural world to recover, at a fraction of the total cost of the scheme.

HS2 Ltd has proposed a Green Corridor along the route, which we welcome. But this is far from adequate and can only be seen as a start to delivering the more ambitious vision we have set out.


HS2 Greener Vision Full Report

HS2 Greener Vision Summary

HS2 and ancient Woodlands

Hundreds of important habitats and special wild places are under threat from the government's proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network. Ancient woodland, lakes, meadows and other important habitats are at risk. Yet, there has not been a Strategic Environmental Assessment and the compensation plans being put forward are not good enough.

The Government and HS2 Ltd acknowledge that the route can't be delivered without extreme harm to the natural environment. Furthermore, the deep cut and divisive scar the route will cause along the length of England's habitats pose a genuine barrier to the urgent action required to recover nature and restore landscapes. The current approach to HS2 means that a Nature Recovery Network would be impossible.

The potential damage is too great - especially while we are facing an ecological and climate emergency. 

We need HS2 Ltd to stop and rethink. 

How HS2 is affecting nature and Wildlife Trusts along the route

Current HS2 plans will;

  • make a nature recovery network impossible. Meaning all places across the county can't be connected and restored. 
  • lead to local species extinctions in more than one area
  • proposes serious risk to a number of protected sites
  • delivers net loss in biodiversity
  • offers inadequate compensation for damage and loss

The proposed route for HS2 will badly damage wild places along its route. Fourteen Wildlife Trusts have campaigned against the development which will devastate many of the wild places that they care for:

Phase 1: LondonHertfordshire & MiddlesexBerks, Bucks and OxonBeds, Cambs and NorthantsWarwickshire; Birmingham and Black Country; and Staffordshire.

Phase 2: StaffordshireCheshireLancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside; Leicestershire and Rutland; Derbyshire; Nottinghamshire; Sheffield and Rotherham; and Yorkshire.

The draft Environmental Statement for Phase 2b alone references damage to:

  • 12 highly protected areas for nature conservation (known as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI))
  • 111 Local Wildlife Sites
  • 19 ancient woodlands

These figures do not take into account damage caused in Phase 1 and 2a of the route - nor does it account for other wildlife-rich places without designation, so the real impact is much higher.

The launch of our report shows the damages to wildlife and wild places are unnecessarily

HS2 and Staffordshire 

  • Staffordshire is affected by Phase 1 and 2 HS2 routes. 
  • Irreplaceable habitats are being destroyed in Staffordshire by HS2 such as veteran trees, ancient hedges and water-meadows. Some of these losses will even be for temporary works such as construction access. 
  • Wildlife such as barn owl, lapwing and snipe are at risk. 
  • 53 local wildlife sites will be affected, including very rare inland saltmarsh
  • 19 hectares of ancient woodland is also at risk

Examples of habitats at risk include; 

  • Whitmore Wood, a Local Wildlife Site (county importance) and ancient woodland near Newcastle-under-Lyme. HS2 would cut through the woodland. If this destruction goes ahead on the site, it would currently be the single biggest loss of woodland on the entire HS2 scheme with the loss of 5.5ha (around half of the wood). The wood could be saved via tunnelling, but this option has so far been dismissed on the grounds of cost. 
  • Bishton (north of) is a Local Wildlife Site covering approx 3km of species-rich hedges lining Bishton Lane, A temporary access route is proposed to remove at least half of the hedgerows to widen the lane. 
  • Finner's Hill hedgerows and Moor Lane, Colton on Newlands Lane and Moor Lane in Stockwell Heath are potentially ancient species-rich hedges which will be lost by temporary road widening and HS2 cutting directly through them.
Whitmoor Wood

How you can help 

-Sign our letter urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop and rethink HS2

- Contact your local MP to tell them that you have signed the letter urging Boris Johnson to stop and rethink HS2 and explain why HS2 is a concern for wildlife

- Become a member and support our work campaigning against HS2 and protecting Staffordshire's precious wildlife and wild places,