DCSIMG

UPDATED: Devastating environmental impact of HS2 acknowledged in new report

Conceptual image of HS2

Conceptual image of HS2

The Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee has acknowledged the devastating impact that HS2 will have on the environment.

In a report released ahead of a key second stage vote on the project, the committee is asking that budgets for environmental protection should be ringfenced and that agreed that the HS2 line should be slowed down to 186mph.

The report cites mitigation documents from Bucks County, which question HS2 Ltd’s commitment to protecting rare Bechstein’s bats.

It also said that the current proposed strategy of replacing habitats and woodlands, does not take into account the loss of ancient and well established sites.

Echoing concerns of the Stop HS2 campaign that ‘get-out clauses’ have been inserted into the HS2 Hybrid Bill, meaning environmental protection could be sacrificed as part of cost-cutting measures. The committee also warns that the proposals would endanger rare species and criticise HS2 for not conducting surveys along almost half of the route.

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “When the committee asked how the environmental impact of HS2 could be minimised, we told them the only thing you could do, besides cancelling the project would be to slow it down. The design speed of HS2 has been plucked out of the air to make the business case work, but that comes at a massive cost to the environment.

“From the start, HS2 Ltd have treated the environmental havoc their project will cause as an inconvenience to be brushed under the carpet. HS2 Ltd have only surveyed just over half the routes and at the committee they admitted that their ‘ancient woodland directory might not have picked up all the sites’.

“That is how incompetent they are, that after four years of working up the project, they don’t even know how many woodlands they will hit, but that is because they simply don’t care. ”

He added: “It is absolutely essential that the environment is protected as much as possible from HS2 and not sacrificed to cut costs. It is great that the committee has listen to so many of our concerns, and we hope this will encourage more people to believe that more concerns will be taken seriously when the petitioning period begins.”

And Stop HS2 Chair Penny Gaines said: “HS2 Ltd have persistently ignored environmental concerns at every level in their plans.

“From the very basic decisions about speed and route, they have designed a £50 billion railway will have a devastating effect on the environment.

“This is not just because the speed means that HS2 will blast through sensitive sites. Even HS2 Ltd now say that carbon emissions from building HS2 will exceed carbon savings for over sixties years.

“HS2 Ltd have persistently ignored environmental concerns at every level in their plans. From the very basic decisions about speed and route, they have designed a £50 billion railway will have a devastating effect on the environment.

“This is not just because the speed means that HS2 will blast through sensitive sites. Even HS2 Ltd now say that carbon emissions from building HS2 will exceed carbon savings for over 60 years.”

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page