Trust raises deep concerns over hybrid bill for HS2

The county’s leading nature conservation charity has raised concerns over the impact to wildlife and important habitats and is requesting amendments to the hybrid bill for High Speed Rail (HS2 Phase 2a).

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has petitioned against the Bill for HS2 (West Midlands to Crewe) and has deep concerns that wildlife and irreplaceable habitats like ancient hedgerows and water meadows are being ignored in the bill.

Declining farmland birds such as skylark, and lapwing are also an issue, as temporary impacts from the years of construction work are not being considered, and the Trust is pushing for better mitigation for vulnerable species along the route.

The bill is currently being considered by the House of Lords. The Trust could appear in front of the select committee to further raise its concerns sometime in September.

Kate Dewey, Senior Planning Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are particularly concerned that Local Wildlife Sites are not being considered properly, as the data on these sites is not complete or up-to-date, so important habitats are not getting the recognition or the protection they need. We also feel that sites could have better avoidance and mitigation plans.”

“There are also many newly discovered habitats on the route that deserve designation, so we have asked that HS2 Ltd carry out the right assessments or provide funding to do so. Without this, many important habitats such as diverse hedgerows and meadows will not get fully considered within the design."

The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts has also petitioned on overall impacts to wildlife - currently the aim for the rail scheme is ‘no net loss of biodiversity’, but The Wildlife Trusts believe that net gain for wildlife should be made a requirement.