Wildlife Trusts "disappointed" with HS2 report
Published: 15 Jul 2014

The Wildlife Trusts have responded to the Government's reaction to a report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on the hotly debated HS2 rail project.

The Wildlife Trusts say the Government "largely rejects recommendations on allowing compensatory habitats away from the route".

In a statement, the Director of the Wildlife Trusts England, Stephen Trotter says, "We're deeply disappointed at the lack of ambition demonstrated today in the Government's rejection of the Environmental Audit Committee report."

He continues, "It's a real shame that the Government considers 'no net biodiversity loss' to be 'appropriate.' Proclaimed by Government as a visionary project, it should be visionary at every level. Government could and should be ensuring that HS2 is a pioneering example of minimum damage and maximum repair for nature".

The report was a collaboration of various bodies including the EAC and the Wildlife Trusts, 'HS2: A vision for large-scale nature restoration along the Proposed Route' and claims that a series of natural habitats can be created and maintained along the HS2 link, with less than 1% of the overall HS2 budget. The overall budget, according to the Wildlife Trusts, stands at £42 billion.

A Cost Benefit Analysis was undertaken by Newcastle University, and reported back that the benefits of the restoration of nature and creation of access to those habitats would "outweigh the costs".

Mr Trotter clarified in his statement that "the Wildlife Trusts will continue to make the environmental, social and economic case for properly addressing the impact of HS2 on wildlife and ecosystems".