Last week reported that anti-HS2 campaigners Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside) were heading for Calvert Jubilee after learning through social media that the nature reserve was to be cleared without warning.
The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) have now released a full statement. It reads:
“We are dismayed to discover that HS2 are destroying parts of our precious Calvert Jubilee nature reserve.
“Whilst HS2 would say they have a legal right to enter our reserve and clear areas of rich wildlife habitat, we would have expected them to inform us that they were planning to move in with chainsaws imminently, rather than us find out from concerned members of the public.
“It is absolutely nonsensical for irreversible works of destruction to take place whilst the whole of the HS2 project is being reviewed. 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.
“Over the last 50 years, this 20 hectare open-water habitat has become a haven for large numbers of overwintering waterfowl and waders. During winter you can watch the comings and goings of the resident bird life, such as mallard, tufted duck and pochard. In the shallower areas of the lake you can glimpse the scarcely seen bittern, perfectly camouflaged against the papery reeds.
“All five UK hairstreak butterfly species have been recorded at Calvert Jubilee. This makes the area extremely unique in Britain.
“In February 2019, we received notice from HS2 that they intend to carry out clearance works at Calvert Jubilee. We believe the works will cause unnecessary and unwarranted destruction of important breeding and feeding habitats for a range of species. We therefore strongly object to the proposals as they stand.
“In May 2019, we denied contractors working on behalf of HS2 access to Calvert Jubilee to carry out clearance works until they produce a scheme of works and mitigation that address our concerns and respects the needs of wildlife. There is a huge risk that habitat is destroyed, HS2 is scrapped, no new habitat is created and we will have lost precious habitat and species for nothing.”
HS2 provided us with the following statement regarding our story last week:
“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.”
See our campaign at: HS2 Enough Is Enough