Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are currently scrutinising a report on the proposed route for HS2 in order to get the best outcome for local wildlife.
The Trust, which is the county’s leading nature conservation charity, will be examining the West Midlands to Crewe Working Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report and Design Refinement consultation before the deadline for comments on November 7th. They will also be raising further concerns about the HS2 Phase 2A route, which will cross 34 miles of Staffordshire countryside.
Along with highlighting any issues or opportunities for HS2 to improve compensation for wildlife such as bats, badgers, great crested newts and birds, particularly barn owl, and polecats, the Trust will propose a major change to the design to include a temporary railhead near Stone, with the potential to convert it to a permanent maintenance facility.
Kate Dewey, Planning Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Our main aim throughout the process has been to push for the best outcome for wildlife. The route-wide report states that ten non-statutory local wildlife sites (LWS) will potentially be affected, plus two registered Ancient Woodland Inventory Sites – Whitmore Wood and Barhill Wood, near Madeley. HS2’s surveys have also identified a further 10 woodlands with potential to be ancient that may be affected. Further assessment is ongoing, but it is therefore possible that more ancient woodland will be affected than originally thought. So far it is estimated that 6.5ha of ancient woodland will be impacted, approximately 114km of hedgerows and 158 ponds. HS2 are also keen to consider sites away from the line where compensatory habitat creation or restoration could be carried out, through legal agreements with interested landowners. The Trust is supportive of this, as it could better link up existing habitats, and be of more benefit and flexibility to landowners.”
People can support Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s work on HS2 by becoming a member online at www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk.
For any more information, contact the Trust on 01889 880100.