The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) are urging people to sign a letter from the Wildlife Trusts to the Prime Minister, calling for a 'stop and rethink on HS2'.
Aiming initially for 10,000 signatures, this target was breached within a few hours. The tally at the time of writing is 17,005. The Trusts are now aiming for 25,000.
To sign the letter please click here: Wildlife Trusts Letter To The Prime Minister
The letter concludes:
“Please use your power as Prime Minister to ensure the impact on the natural environment is properly assessed and the proposals are fully reviewed. Ongoing works must be halted immediately. Nature’s recovery is in your hands.”
It follows the far-reaching review by the Wildlife Trust of the damage HS2 is set to cause to nature and the environment across the UK which The Bucks Herald reported yesterday.
BBOWT has been drawing attention to the destruction of its Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve in North Bucks.
The unique 20 hectare open-water habitat is a haven for large numbers of overwintering waterfowl and wading birds. It supports a range of species including mallard, tufted duck, pochard and bittern and all five UK hairstreak butterfly species.
In February 2019, the Wildlife Trust received notice from HS2 Ltd about its intentions to carry out clearance works (for Phase 1) at Calvert Jubilee. The Trust objected on the basis that the works would cause unnecessary and unwarranted destruction of important breeding and feeding habitats for a range of species; and it denied access to HS2 contractors a few months later on account of there being no scheme of works and no adequate mitigation plans.
In December 2019 (during the review of the HS2 scheme), contractors entered the nature reserve and began irreversible clearance of wildlife habitat, without advance warning to the Wildlife Trust.
The Wildlife Trusts are now calling for a stop and rethink on HS2 and urging people to sign a letter for the Prime Minister.
Matthew Stanton, Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy at BBOWT said:
“At a time when 41% of wildlife species are in decline across the UK, we are especially concerned about the impact HS2 will have on Buckinghamshire’s wildlife and we are urging people to join us in asking the Prime Minister for a stop and rethink.
“As currently planned, HS2 will be bad for wildlife, bad for the environment and destroy precious, irreplaceable habitats. Unless the project is radically changed, it should be scrapped. If HS2 does go ahead, it must incorporate a greener vision and deliver biodiversity net gain.
“Over the last few years BBOWT has met with politicians, HS2 representatives and their key contractors to set out the devastating effect on wildlife the project would have. However, works have continued with scant regard for the environment. In early December 2019, HS2 undertook clearance works at our Calvert Jubilee nature reserve in Buckinghamshire without advance warning.
“HS2 will destroy or significantly impact 108 irreplaceable ancient woodlands, which have been around since the 1600s, 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 693 Local Wildlife Sites and 21 Local Nature Reserves, among other precious habitats. Such damage would be unforgivable so HS2 should be scrapped.
“However, if the Government ignores such warnings and presses ahead with this damaging project, then as a flagship infrastructure project it must demonstrate an exemplary regard for the environment. The Wildlife Trusts’ Greener Vision is not just to prevent further declines in species and habitats, but to restore our natural environment. Our vision is a 1km ribbon of wildlife-rich landscape either side of the line where recreated and naturally regenerated habitats would buffer, link and provide ‘stepping stones’ between wildlife sites. Funding for ongoing maintenance would be part of the HS2 legacy. If the Government’s green ambitions for HS2 do not match the needs of the natural world, HS2 should be stopped before more damage is done.”
The Bucks Herald's HS2: Enough is Enough Facebook campaign page can be found here