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Rail's 'green corridor': millions of trees to be planted for HS2

news

4th July 2018

HS2 aim to plant seven million new trees and shrubs along the 216km phase one route between London and Birmingham, as well as create bat houses and newt ponds.

Labelled the ‘green corridor’ plan, it will see new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community spaces created in order to lessen the environmental and ecological impact of the UK's controversial new high speed line.

10 square kilometres of new wildlife habitat will be introduced during phase one, a 30% increase compared to what currently exists. Almost a quarter of a million trees have been planted along the line already.

The HS2 Woodland Fund will receive a £2m extension from the government to cover Phase 2 of the railway, from the West Midlands to Crewe. The extension will help landowners restore and create woodlands near the route.

Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd chief executive, said: “Alongside improving connectivity, boosting the economy and unlocking new jobs and opportunities, I’m determined to ensure that HS2 also works for the environment and local communities.

“This starts by doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise the expected impact of our construction work. Longer-term, we’ll be leaving behind a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands, and community spaces, helping to create a lasting legacy along the route.”

However, the Woodland Trust has hit back at the plan, claiming ‘the only unprecedented part of the railway is the amount of ancient woodland it will destroy’. It claims that 40 hectares of ancient woodland which has been around for 1,600 or more years, will be destroyed.

Luci Ryan, ecologist at the Woodland Trust, said: “Once that ancient woodland is gone, it’s gone forever so while planting new trees is all well and good, it’s no substitute for what will be lost.

"Their plans – which let’s not forget are a condition of the scheme, not being delivered out of the goodness of their hearts – fall woefully short of replacing what will be lost on something being touted as a green infrastructure project.”

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