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Campaigns update: the latest news from HS2

We’ve seen a wave of new information from HS2 in recent weeks, including another consultation. Unfortunately, it’s not good news.

2018 consultation summary released

We finally have the official figures from the HS2 Phase 2b Draft Environmental Statement consultation.

No fewer than 34,056 of our wonderful supporters added their voice to our campaign, when it ran from October to December 2018.That’s a staggering 98% of the total 34,419 responses to the consultation. Thank you so much if you took part.

The remaining responses were mostly from:

  • local groups
  • Campaign for Better Transport
  • Stop HS2
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • The Wildlife Trusts
  • many other councils and statutory bodies.

To add weight to our campaigns, we always suggest that you include your own comments with our prewritten responses. In this case, more than 17,000 people included unique messages sharing personal stories and experiences. Thank you.

New HS2 route changes bring more bad news

On the same day these figures were released, HS2 published a route refinement.

This separate document outlines changes to the Phase 2b section – Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds. The changes are ‘to make it more efficient, cost effective and to minimise disruption for residents and impacts on the environment’.

But at first glance, it looks like the new plans are likely to increase the damage to ancient woodland.

Whitmore Wood in Staffordshire is one of many ancient woods threatened by HS2 (Photo: Philip Formby/WTML)
Whitmore Wood in Staffordshire is one of many ancient woods threatened by HS2 (Photo: Philip Formby/WTML)

Rest assured we are analysing the proposed changes and will be submitting a response. If you live along the route, we recommend you take a look at the refinement paper and respond to the consultation. The deadline is Friday 6 September.

It’s disappointing that the route refinement has not included any of the feedback from the consultation, especially as they were released on the same day. More than 34,000 people asked for ancient woodland along the route to be saved, but this hasn't been taken into account. Instead, we wait for the final environmental statement, due next year.

Elsewhere along the HS2 railway

Phase 2a is ready for its third reading in parliament before going to the House of Lords and then for Royal Assent. And we are bracing ourselves for the first ancient trees and woods to be felled, as the enabling works continue for Phase 1. This upsetting act is currently scheduled to take place in autumn. 

Thanks to our wonderful supporters, we have already saved 14ha of woodland from the infrastructure project. But 108 ancient woods are still threatened with loss or damage by HS2. The remaining heart-breaking figure will mean disaster for beautiful, delicate, irreplaceable ecosystems up and down the country. We still have a lot more work to do.

Ancient woodland is one of our most precious natural assets

Call on government to give it better protection