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Wildlife Trust highlights concerns over inadequacies in HS2 consultation

Monday 17th February

Wildlife Trust highlights concerns over inadequacies in HS2 consultation

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today highlighted what it considers to be inadequacies in the consultation process for the planned HS2 route between the West Midlands and Leeds.

The charity, the only group which monitors planning applications for threats to wildlife across the whole country, has submitted a 24 page response to the consultation about the preferred route and has objected on the grounds that, if given the go ahead, it would be highly damaging to biodiversity of both local and national importance.

Speaking on behalf of the charity, Janice Bradley, Head of Conservation Policy & Planning, said: "Whilst we support the principle of sustainable transport, we will not support developments that result in an unacceptably high cost to our natural environment, particularly where it would adversely affect irreplaceable habitats or scarce species."

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that the proposed route is in direct contravention of planning rules as it will irreparably and permanently damage valued landscapes, damage and destroy irreplaceable wildlife and fragment existing areas of habitat.
The Trust is also very disappointed that the HS2 proposals fail to make the case for protecting and enhancing wildlife as part of the scheme.
Mrs Bradley continued:   “Apart from our specific concerns for the future of a number of cherished woodlands and other wildlife areas, including a number of our own nature reserves, we believe that the information provided as part of the consultation relating to impacts on the natural environment, particularly in reference to nationally protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is wholly insufficient.”
The wildlife charity is very concerned that key information relating to European and Nationally protected species and Local Wildlife Sites, which may be home to nationally important habitats and species, is missing – making it impossible for a fully informed decision about the route to be made.
Mrs Bradley added:  “In our view, the level of detail provided is woefully inadequate, not least because the design of a route cannot be progressed if it is not known whether it might simply be impossible to mitigate for some of the likely impacts on key habitats and species. We also believe that a number of statements within the consultation documents that suggest that the impact on key wildlife sites will be limited cannot be substantiated on the basis of the evidence presented. Some of our scarcest habitats and species in the County are threatened by this proposed development including limestone grassland, fen, great crested newts and frog orchids”
The Wildlife Trust has grave concerns over the likely impact on a number of sites including Bog’s Farm Quarry, a protected SSSI which sits directly on the planned route, and four other SSSIs close to the route including two more of its nature reserves, Sellers Wood and Annesley Woodhouse Quarry.  Seller’s Wood, near Bulwell, is home to wild flowers including native orchids, and is situated just 500m from the proposed centre line of the route, whilst Annesley Woodhouse Quarries SSSI is within 100m. Both sites are considered to be of national importance for wildlife.
The Wildlife Trusts and HS2
The Wildlife Trusts are represented on an Environment Forum, a means of sharing views, concerns and ideas about the development and implementation of the scheme.  The forum was established last year by HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport (DfT).  The Wildlife Trusts are also represented on a ‘stakeholder group’ chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport or the Transport Minister.
The High Speed Rail scheme is being developed and promoted by HS2 Ltd; a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport, established in 2009 to design and manage implementation of HS2.
HS2 Phase Two
The eight Wildlife Trusts affected by the proposed High Speed Rail phase two route are:
• Cheshire Wildlife Trust
• Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
• The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside
• Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust
• Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
• Sheffield Wildlife Trust
• Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
• Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

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