Wildlife trust and HS2 embroiled in dispute over future of Calvert Jubilee nature reserve

Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve
Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve

The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and HS2 are deadlocked in a dispute over the future of the Calvert Jubilee nature reserve.

In February, BBOWT received notice from HS2 of plans to carry out clearance work at the 22 hectare nature reserve, located just outside the village of Calvert.

In May, the trust denied contractors working on behalf of HS2 access to the nature reserve to carry out clearance works claiming they needed to 'produce a scheme of works and mitigation that addresses our concerns and respects the needs of wildlife.'

Back in May, BBOWT commented: "The risk is that habitat is destroyed, HS2 is scrapped, no new habitat is created and we will have lost precious habitat and species for nothing.

"BBOWT strongly opposes HS2’s plans as they currently stand."

Fast forward three months and the wildlife trust claim the situation is no further forward.

The trust's head of planning, policy and advocacy Matthew Stanton told this paper: "Our main demand is that no work takes place during the bird nesting season.

"We do not want trees with nests in cut down and we request HS2 apply a five metre buffer zone to protect surrounding trees.

"This reserve is home to birds such as the reed warblers and bitterns which we want to protect because they are very rare in this country.

"We want to see a proper mitigation plan from HS2 before they strip out the reserve and ruin established habitats.

"I do not know how this situation will be resolved because three months on we are no further forward."

BBOWT's stance is in conflict with HS2 who claim they have been open with the trust about their plans and that they are not planning any vegetation clearance until the autumn.

An HS2 spokesman said: “We understand some communities along the route are concerned about activity in their area and we are working closely with them, interest groups and the local council to minimise the impact of our works.

“At Calvert Jubilee we’ve been meeting with Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust over several years and have shared our environmental statement with them, including details of all mitigation work.

"We would like to assure people that all our mitigation work complies with environmental standards and follows established best practice guidelines.

“We are undertaking a programme of work in Calvert which helps us prepare for the main construction work in the area.

"We will continue to keep the community informed of these works as they progress.”