HS2 rail link
The Government plans to build a high speed rail line known as High Speed 2 (HS2), linking a number of the UK's major cities.
We fully believe there is a need to move towards a low carbon economy. However, we are yet to be convinced that this proposed rail route by the Government, as an alternative to road transport, is as green as it claims to be.
Our immediate concern is that in threatening ancient woods, the current proposals do not achieve all that they could. For instance, the current plans for HS2 include a tunnel beneath part of the Chilterns. Extending this tunnel by 10.4km (6.46 miles) could save over 30% of the ancient woodland at risk for Phase 1 – woodland that the Government’s own Keepers of Time policy describes as ‘irreplaceable living monuments'.
Our analysis of the available documentation from HS2 Ltd, which includes the Environmental Statement for Phase 1 and the route consultation for phase 2, shows that at least 41 ancient woods will be subject to direct loss. A further 42 are at significant risk not only from noise, pollution, shading and dust, but from additional loss when construction boundaries, utilities works and other details are confirmed for the whole route.