Birmingham live reports on how millions of new trees and 33km of wildlife habitat were among the commitments made by HS2 chiefs in an attempt to minimise the environmental impact of the high speed railway line in the ‘green corridor’ that will run alongside the line between the West Midlands and London.
Birmingham live writes:
Launching the ‘More Than a Railway’ policy document, bosses outlined plans for a ‘green corridor’ to run alongside the line between London and the West Midlands. This would feature seven million trees covering nine square km of land, as well as a 30 per cent increase in available wildlife habitat along the stretch of railway. There are also plans to re-use 90 per cent of the materials excavated during construction, as well as committing to tailor-made habitats for specific species along the route.
These include 226 breeding ponds for the endangered great-crested newt – more than double the number of habitats affected by the initial construction of the railway. The green corridor will also feature four new bat houses for the endangered common pipistrelle bats, as well as various tunnels and bridges designed to allow wildlife and people to cross safely from one side of the tracks to another…
However Stop HS2, a campaign group dedicated to stopping construction of the railway, has taken exception to the announcement, saying the plan is ‘as environmentally destructive as possible. With 98 irreplaceable ancient woodlands under threat from HS2, this announcement is cynical corporate greenwashing at its worst, in the hope it will distract people from the fact HS2 is late, billions of pounds over-budget and spiralling out of control,’ said Joe Rukin, stop HS2 Campaign Manager.
He said ‘If this is setting a new standard for how infrastructure projects are delivered, then everyone better beware, because the Government have thrown away every precedent and legal protection they could, allowing HS2 to be designed to be as environmentally destructive as possible. The whole concept that sporadically planting a few trees up and down the line in the farms that have shut and the fields that have been lost because HS2 have made them uneconomical to farm is ludicrous.’