Environmentalists plea for more help from rail expansion.
The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country is calling for HS2 to do more to identify less damaging options for the construction and operation of HS2 in Birmingham.
In their response to the consultation on HS2’s environmental statement which closes this week the local conservation charity describes work done so far as “unacceptable” due to inadequate, inconsistent, and compromised survey work, data collection, analysis and evaluation. The Trust is particularly concerned about the impact HS2 will have on Park Hall,a large area of remnant farmland and estate grounds on the eastern edge of Birmingham, lying in the valley of the River Tame between Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich. The rail line is scheduled to run through the area, which includes ancient woodlands and wetland habitats for wildlife.
Nick Hammond, Interim Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, said: “We need a lot more clarity from HS2, as so far they have been unable to clearly identify the full scale of the impacts of building this project.
“If they are to destroy precious habitats, we need to know what is being destroyed, why and how they are going to mitigate this loss. So far we are a long way from knowing how they can possibly avoid damaging biodiversity, as they are only focussed on the very narrow corridor of the proposed HS2 route and have not looked at the larger picture.”
The Wildlife Trust is calling for HS2 to protect and enhance our local natural heritage by providing compensation on at least a 3:1 basis on sites identified within the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area.
Nick Hammond added: “Despite the very severe adverse impacts that are expected on our nature reserve, HS2 has not discussed the impact, or mitigation and compensation proposals, directly with us. We would be prepared to discuss and negotiate with HS2 to reach the best practicable environmental solution, but this is an opportunity that has not been available to us to date.”
The Wildlife Trust believes that HS2 fails to identify ecological benefits, particularly in terms of stepping stones, corridors and links for wildlife or public access along the route.