October 23rd, 2016

HS2 concerns put to government

Updated: 3:07 pm, May 07, 2015

THE new boss of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s first job has been to set out the environmental concerns of the controversial HS2 railway line.

Ed Green, who has taken over as chief executive from Stephen Trotter, delivered what he described as an unprecedented document detailing those concerns to Westminster last week.

It questioned the importance being given to its ecological impact, the loss of biodiversity and habitat from eight ancient woodlands in the county and the partial loss of 18 local wildlife sites.

“HS2 will have a devastating effect on Warwickshire’s wildlife,” he said.

“It affects irreplaceable ancient woodlands, county important wildlife sites and acts as a barrier to wildlife movement across the landscape.

“However, it is clear from the Bill, and the accompanying Environmental Statement, that many of these issues still remain poorly assessed or unresolved. This is why we believed it was necessary to petition the bill.”

The county council has detailed its own list of demands in a 65-page document sent to MPs.

It contains a number of major requests including building a 1.2km dual carriageway to widen a section of the A446 near Coleshill, introducing a Special Management Zone for the North Warwickshire area affected by phases one and two of the scheme, proposing an alternative site for the controversial Kingsbury railhead and an improvement or rebuilding of Middleton Village Hall.

Improvements have also been requested to Kenilworth Greenway, a replacement village hall at Burton Green, a deep bored tunnel under South Cubbington Wood and compensation measures for disruption in Southam, Kenilworth and Coleshill.

Cubbington Action Group against HS2 also issued a petition to parliament before the deadline last week.

It calls for a reduction in the height of the ground on which the track would be laid to reduce its noise and visual impact and avoid the need to raise existing roads to cross the line.

And like the county council the group has suggested a bored tunnel under South Cubbington Wood.

A total of 44 miles of HS2 route will travel through Warwickshire.

Matt Jackson, Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, Paul Wilkinson, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, and Ed Green of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (s)