I have always had doubts about the HS2 scheme.
The amount of passenger time that will be saved by the project is not that great, the economic benefits are uncertain, and I feel that the money would be much better spent on improving the rail network as a whole. I also sympathise with those who have homes near to the route and who will be affected by the unacceptable level of noise and disruption.
It has also become clear that the construction of the high speed line will do irrevocable damage to wildlife too. According to the Wildlife Trust (of which our own Suffolk Wildlife Trust is a part):-
‘Four Wildlife Trust reserves, 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), more than 50 ancient woodlands and numerous local wildlife sites lie in the route of the proposed High Speed Rail HS2 route.
It will fragment populations of butterflies, bats and birds, and compromise the natural movements of large mammals such as badgers that cannot cross the concrete and steel barrier of railway infrastructure.
This comes at a time when the Making Space for Nature report called for integrated, connected landscapes to link up and extend habitats for rare and endangered species. The very last thing we should be doing is creating new linear barriers to the movement of wildlife.’
Concerned about the destruction of ancient woodlands, the Woodland Trust, a separate body, is also actively campaigning against the project. They have pointed out the very high noise levels that will be generated by the railway, which will not just be damaging to wildlife but to human beings too!
What is becoming clear is that in their misplaced, and somewhat mystifying, enthusiasm to build this white elephant the Government is failing to mandate a sufficiently detailed environmental assessment (a familiar story that we are increasingly hearing with regard to other developments closer to home).
The Woodland Trust has launched a campaign to press for a proper environmental assessment to be carried out. If you wish to participate in this click on this link.