A new report published by The Wildlife Trusts today (Wednesday January 15) reveals the vast scale of the destruction and impact that HS2 will cause to nature including that in Warwick district. .
More than 8.1 hectares of ancient woodland will be lost across South Cubbington, Crackley North, Roughknowles Wood, Broadwells Wood, Sych Wood and North Wood while nature reserves within five km of the route including Leam Valley, Tocil Wood and Bubbenhall Wood along with a number of Local Wildlife Sites.
Nationally the report finds that HS2’s current proposals will risk the loss of, or significantly impact five 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 four 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.
Nikki Williams, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of campaigns and policy says: “The figures are grim and the reality is worse.
"The potential loss of so many really important wild places and the wildlife that depends on them has never been revealed before – nor has the damage that will be done to taxpayer-funded, nature recovery projects.
"HS2 will destroy precious carbon-capturing habitats if it’s allowed to continue in its current form – it will damage the very ecosystems that provide a natural solution to the climate emergency.
“The data also shows that HS2 Ltd’s proposed mitigation and compensation is inadequate and the small measures that they have suggested are inappropriate – amateurish suggestions of paltry measures in the wrong places.
"Nature and our climate are already in big trouble and we must not make a dire situation even worse – that’s why we are calling on the Prime Minister to stop and rethink the entire development.”
The Wildlife Trusts believe that if HS2 has to go ahead, a new approach is needed – one that, in keeping with current government commitments, takes a greener approach which leaves the natural world in a better condition than it was before.
Nikki added: “The Government has pledged to create a Nature Recovery Network – a commitment to reverse wildlife’s decline by creating more habitat and green arteries that allow nature to spread and thrive once more.
"Developments like HS2 should not be a permanent barrier to wildlife – they should be designed to enhance, not harm, the environment.
"It’s not too late to stop and rethink now – before HS2 creates a scar that can never heal.”
The Wildlife Trusts’ report What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much can be downloaded at www.wildlifetrusts.org/HS2-report.
The Wildlife Trusts are urging people to send a message to the Prime Minister – 'stop and rethink!'.
This e-action is live now at wtru.st/ReThink-HS2
Responding to a report by the Wildlife Trust ‘What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ , an HS2 spokesperson said: "All leading wildlife organisations agree that climate change is the biggest future threat to wildlife and habitats in the UK.
"By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s fight against climate change.
“The number of sites presented in this report as being ‘at risk of loss, or significant impact’ simply isn’t accurate.
"HS2 take the environmental cost of construction very seriously.
"That is why we’re delivering an unprecedented programme of tree planting and habitat creation alongside the new railway - with seven million new trees and shrubs set to be planted between London and Birmingham alone - new native woodland planted to link up ancient woodland, and tailored mitigation plans in place for protected species.”