Thousands ask Prime Minister to stop and re-think HS2

Thousands ask Prime Minister to stop and re-think HS2

Bluebell wood by Andrew Mason

High speed rail plans risk devastating environmental damage

Today a letter from The Wildlife Trusts and signed by over 66,000 people will be delivered to 10 Downing Street highlighting the huge risks that HS2 poses to the environment, and asking the Prime Minister to ensure that the impact on nature is properly assessed as a matter of urgency. 

The Woodland Trust is also handing over 42,000 comments, including 7,000 handwritten responses condemning the potential loss of ancient woodlands and thousands of trees which will be impacted or felled to make way for the line.

Webpage showing signatures on letter to prime minister

More than 66,000 people signed our letter to the Prime Minister asking the government to stop and rethink HS2.

Estelle Bailey, CEO of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, says:

“We have seen first-hand the environmental destruction this project is causing. In December 2019, HS2 entered our nature reserve at Calvert Jubilee in Buckinghamshire without warning, and destroyed precious bat roosting habitat. BBOWT has met with politicians, HS2 representatives and their key contractors to make clear the devastating effect on wildlife the project would have – but works have continued with scant regard for the environment. It is time to stop and rethink this project before more damage is done.

“We are grateful to the many thousands of our members and supporters who added their name to the letter. They know what we stand to lose if these irreplaceable habitats are destroyed forever. We urge the Prime Minister to listen to them and the thousands of people across the country who have come together to speak up for our precious wildlife and wild places, before it is too late.”

Nikki Williams, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of campaigns and policy, says: 

“People want a commitment to ensure that nature does not pay the price for HS2.  In only three weeks over 66,000 people have signed our letter to the Prime Minister showing that they care deeply about the risks to wildlife such as barn owls, and precious plants like the endangered lizard orchid. Current plans could devastate irreplaceable meadows, designated ancient woodlands and internationally important wetlands, creating an environmental scar that will not heal.

“We’re calling on the Prime Minister to stop and re-think HS2; the fate of hundreds of treasured wild places and the wildlife that depend on them, is in his hands.”

Head of Campaigning at the Woodland Trust, Adam Cormack says:

“Government needs to realise that HS2 will cost far more than money, and that destroying our precious ancient woodlands is a grave mistake that will be looked back on in shock by future generations.

“Our ancient woodlands and the unique species they support are on borrowed time. We need the Prime Minister to stop the clocks and listen to the views of thousands before it’s too late to save these sites from destruction. It’s time to rethink HS2.”

A recent report published by The Wildlife Trusts, including data from the Woodland Trust, revealed evidence of the vast scale of destruction and impact that HS2 could cause to nature. ‘What’s the damage?  Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ is the most comprehensive assessment of potential environmental damage. 

The letter that over 66,000 people have signed to the Prime Minister is here. Delegates to Downing Street today include representatives of Wildlife Trusts along the proposed rail route.