'What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ is the most comprehensive assessment of the environmental damage that HS2 will cause. It assesses the broad range of impacts across all phases of HS2 on protected wildlife sites, species and landscape restoration projects.
Drawing on data from 14 Wildlife Trusts affected by the current plans, other charities and landowners* along the route, the report shows that HS2 will divide and destroy huge swathes of irreplaceable natural habitat and important protected wildlife sites up the length of England. This will cause permanent loss of nature, increased fragmentation of wild places, and the local extinction of endangered species.
The report finds that HS2’s current proposals will risk the loss of, or significantly impact:
- 5 Wildlife refuges of international importance, protected by UK law
- 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest which are protected by UK law
- 693 Classified Local Wildlife Sites
- 21 Designated Local Nature Reserves
- 26 Large landscape-scale initiatives, including:
- 4 Nature Improvement Areas awarded £1.7 million of public money
- 22 Living Landscapes – partnership schemes to restore nature
- 18 Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves – many are also designated wildlife sites
- 108 Ancient woodlands, an irreplaceable habitat
- Other irreplaceable habitats such as veteran trees, wood pasture, old meadows
- Extensive further areas of wider natural habitat
- Barn owls and endangered wildlife such white-clawed crayfish, willow tit and lizard orchid. Rarities like dingy skipper may become locally extinct.