HS2 have taken over Calvert Jubilee

Mark Vallance

BBOWT is devastated that High Speed 2 Ltd have now taken legal possession of a large section of our Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve.

Anti-HS2 protestors who had set up camp have been removed from the site by security guards and police. HS2 have a warrant for the site so officially have taken over.

Despite HS2 assuring us that they would give us notice of when they would take possession, they moved onto site without informing us.

Construction workers will destroy decades of hard work by BBOWT staff and volunteers who have made the site a haven for wildlife.

An area on the eastern side of the reserve will be flattened to make space for the railway.

Calvert Jubilee is one of the jewels in the crown of our nature reserves - a peaceful lakeside sprinkled with wild flowers and a quiet haven for wildlife and people.

Over the last 50 years, the reserve has become a haven for large numbers of overwintering waterfowl and waders. Birds like blackcap nest in the trees and scrub, and the reeds in the shallower parts of the lake play host to the magnificent bittern. The site is renowned as a home to all five species of UK hairstreak butterfly. 

This fabulous matrix of habitats is a direct result of the hard work and passion of the people who have made Calvert Jubilee a real gem for wildlife. We are devastated that an area of this beautiful place will be lost to HS2 and much of what remains of the reserve will be overshadowed by the huge infrastructure project. 

HS2 security 3

Mark Vallance

BBOWT’s Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy, Matthew Stanton, said:

“We are devastated that HS2 have now taken possession of a huge part of our Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve. 

“They will fence it off, clear it and destroy decades of hard work by BBOWT staff and volunteers to make it a haven for wildlife.

“We have fought HS2 from the beginning and are grateful to everyone who has helped to try and stop, and at least delay, this sad day arriving.”

Mark Vallance, Reserves Manager for Buckinghamshire said: 

""I am heartbroken to know that HS2’s chainsaws and diggers will destroy habitats that have been looked after by dedicated people for more than 40 years on one of our most diverse and beautiful nature reserves.

“I grew up a few miles from Calvert Jubilee - my visits there as a young boy set me on the path to my career today. The areas that will be destroyed by HS2 have given me some amazing wildlife experiences over the years, including the incredible sight and sound of the elusive and rare nightingale.

“This is an incredibly sad day for wildlife.”

We have refused HS2 and its contractors access to Calvert Jubilee at every opportunity and we continue to oppose all clearance works, particularly any that are proposed to take place during bird nesting season. But in spite of our best efforts and our vigorous campaigning, an area of this precious nature reserve will be destroyed forever.

BBOWT have campaigned against HS2 ever since it was proposed 

 

Since the proposed route was published in 2010 we have been battling against the Government’s plans for HS2 and the destructive impact the project will have on our wildlife and countryside. BBOWT led the local campaign to speak up for wildlife, challenged the lack of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the project, and continued to make the case for better wildlife protection. 

As a result of BBOWT’s long and strenuous campaign, some significant changes to the route have been made, but a report published in January 2020 by The Wildlife Trusts, What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much, shows the huge impact the project will still have on protected wildlife sites, species and landscape restoration projects along the entire route.

 

What next?

Despite our best efforts, in April 2020 - in the midst of the coronavirus crisis - the government announced that Phase 1 of HS2 could proceed. 

However, the fight to protect wildlife is not over. BBOWT will continue to scrutinise the Government’s plans, whilst working to mitigate the inevitable damage HS2 will cause, and saving as many habitats and species as possible

We're calling on our members and supporters to write to their local MP and ask them to urge the government to Stop and Rethink their approach to HS2.

Complaints can be lodged directly with HS2 Ltd on 08081 434 434 or hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.

For the latest updates please visit Calvert Jubilee’s web page and read more about HS2, the impacts on wildlife along the route through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and what BBOWT is doing to protect wildlife here. 

We will continue working hard to protect and repair precious habitats and campaign for wildlife. If you would like to donate to our ongoing work, you can do so here.