HS2 protesters in North Bucks have again been mobilised this week after it was revealed that the Calvert Jubilee nature reserve is being cleared without prior notice.
Steeple Claydon-based campaign group Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside) contacted this paper at the weekend following an announcement on the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) website on Friday 6 December stating:
“We were dismayed to discover that HS2 have closed footpaths and begun clearing parts of Calvert Jubilee nature reserve without any warning or notice. The works should be stopped immediately and the Oakervee Review into HS2 be allowed to report back before any decision is made of whether clearance works should take place.”
Mark Vallance, reserve manager at Calvert Jubilee nature reserve told us:
“We had three or four separate reports at the back end of last week and what has disturbed us the most is the fact that we had no prior knowledge of this work.
“We want answers from HS2 about why now and why they have not been engaging with us recently.”
We spoke to Frank Mahon of Anti-HS2 SOC at midday on Monday, who reported no significant activity in the area, believing work was postponed due to high winds.
Mr Mahon said to us:
"Nothing changes. This has been going on for the last year. Look at how the farmers and the landowners were treated and you've got the same situation now with a nature reserve. It beggars belief.
Mr Mahon also confirmed the group will be keeping a watch on the site all week and will do all they can to prevent further damage to the reserve. He said:
"Our group is prepared to save this reserve. I have permission from the manager on that reserve to walk on their land. I have that on an email and I'll be showing it to the police if their turn up. Our goal is to save this reserve for as long as possible."
A HS2 spokesperson provided the following statement:
“As agreed by Government, limited preparatory works can be undertaken during the Oakervee review period. Our contractors are currently engaged in essential works so that our impact is reduced during the forthcoming bird nesting season. This includes in a small area of the Calvert Green nature reserve for which we have the full permission of the landowner.
“HS2 is the low-carbon transport alternative which will help Britain achieve our target of net zero carbon emissions by reducing the number of cars and lorries on the roads, and domestic flights across the UK.”