The county’s leading nature conservation charity will be pushing for the best outcome for wildlife and raising further concerns over the proposed route of HS2 Phase 2A, which will cross 34 miles of Staffordshire countryside.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are currently scrutinising the West Midlands to Crewe Working Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report and Design Refinement consultation ahead of the deadline for comments on November 7th.
A major proposed change to the design includes constructing a temporary railhead near Stone, with the potential to convert it to a permanent maintenance facility.
The Trust will be highlighting any issues and opportunities for HS2 to provide more or better compensation for wildlife. Key species potentially affected include bats, badgers, great crested newts and birds, particularly barn owl, and polecat.
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.