Cheshire Wildlife Trust has concerns over HS2 plans announced in Queen’s Speech

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament set out the government’s commitment to High Speed 2 Phase 2a. Cheshire Wildlife Trust has concerns over the bill which will give legal powers to compulsorily purchase land, and to construct, and operate the railway between Birmingham and Crewe.

Rachel Giles, Evidence and Planning Manager, at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, has been campaigning hard to ensure the best outcomes for nature. “Although Cheshire Wildlife Trust is generally supportive of sustainable transport schemes, we believe this must not be achieved at the expense of the natural environment,” she said. “We have concerns that the proposed route, just south of Crewe, will cut through the Meres and Mosses Nature Improvement Area. This area was designated by the coalition government in 2012 in order to reconnect important wetland habitats, which had become isolated from each other. HS2 will effectively sever ecological connectivity with the eastern section, undermining the very reasons for its designation.”

“Our view is that the proposals in the 5 mile Cheshire section of the route up to Crewe will destroy 69 ponds, 14 miles of hedgerows, and 27 acres of native woodland (including possible ancient woodland). We are particularly concerned about farmland birds, water voles, and globally endangered native crayfish - all of which are likely to be impacted by the route and its associated infrastructure.”

Cheshire Wildlife Trust is a key member of the HS2 Phase 2 Ecology Technical Group. This group voluntarily provides expertise and data to inform the ecological principles and practices of HS2 Ltd to enable the best possible outcome for ecology. The Trust will continue its ongoing conversations with HS2 Ltd to try and secure appropriate mitigation for the likely impacts on local wildlife.