Trust appears in front of HS2 Select Committee

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are asking HS2 bosses to better consider the impact the route will have on important habitats that are set to be lost forever, after appearing in front of the HS2 West Midlands to Crewe Bill Lords Select Committee this week.

The Trust’s Senior Planning Officer, Kate Dewey, gave evidence on the impact the Phase 2a route would have on Local Wildlife Sites and irreplaceable habitats - many of which have not yet been properly investigated.

Select committees provide an opportunity for people and organisations affected by the construction or other elements of the Bill to petition for or against specific items in it, and to seek alterations. 

The charity is concerned that there are several wetland sites and a large number of ancient hedgerows on the route that should be treated as irreplaceable.

Kate provided detailed, local evidence of the risks the plans pose to some many local sites.  

She said: “Many important habitats have not yet been identified by HS2, and we want them to use the Staffordshire Local Wildlife Sites criteria to help assess them.

“Our survey work to date has resulted in existing Local Wildlife Sites being updated to a higher value or a larger area, and discovering seven new sites which had not been recognised properly by HS2.

“HS2 have not identified any other irreplaceable habitats on the Phase 2a route other than ancient woodland and veteran trees. There are many other habitats that are very hard to replace, such as inland saltmarsh and lowland fen, and we think these should also be recognised.

“The committee seemed interested in our points, but we won't know the outcome until further reports are published. We will continue to pursue our concerns through the HS2 Ecology Review Group and Natural England, and compile a list of sites of concern for HS2 to investigate further.”