Tun­nel vi­sion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

SINCE May it has be­come clear that the Gov­ern­ment in­tends to push ahead with HS2, which is likely to do so much dam­age to wildlife in the Chilterns and the Vale of Ayles­bury.

The HS2 Hy­brid Bill Com­mit­tee, which is re­ceiv­ing pe­ti­tions and lis­ten­ing to the ar­gu­ments about the im­pacts of HS2, is on the road vis­it­ing the sites where the pro­posed rail­way will cut through the Chilterns. The Com­mit­tee has also vis­ited the MPs whose con­stituen­cies are af­fected by the pro­ject.

Last week I was at Man­tles Wood with Ch­eryl Gil­lan, MP for Che­sham and Amer­sham, when she had the chance to tell the com­mit­tee mem­bers why they should be rec­om­mend­ing ding a full length th tun­nel un­der the en­tire Chiltern Hills.

This would save sev­eral an­cient woodlands, s, and their wildlife, from di­rect im­pacts of the tun­nel por­tals and em­bank­ment works that are cur­rently planned. BBOWT is sup­port­ing Ms Gil­lan’s cam­paign for a full length tun­nel.

On Fri­day I met the Com­mit­tee mem­bers when they made a fly­ing visit to Calvert Ju­bilee na­ture re­serve (pic­tured) in the con­stituency of John Ber­cow, MP for Buck­ing­ham, who was very in­ter­ested to know about the im­pacts of HS2 on this un­usual and tran­quil na­ture re­serve and its wildlife.

BBOWT is now scru­ti­n­is­ing new sur­vey in­for­ma­tion from HS2 Ltd about the eco­log­i­cal im­pact of the pro­posed route, along­side the com­pany’s own pro­posed route ad­just­ments.

As far as we can tell no sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments have yet been made to re­duce the wildlife im­pact of the pro­pos­als.

In Septem­ber BBOWT will be pe­ti­tion­ing the HS2 Hy­brid Bill Com­mit­tee and ask­ing for changes that ad­dress our con­cerns about wildlife and habi­tats at our na­ture re­serves: Fine­mere Wood and Calvert Ju­bilee.

We con­tinue to be very con­cerned about the im­pacts on rare species such as Bech­stein’s bat, which is known to have colonies in Fine­mere Wood and neigh­bour­ing an­cient woodlands.

Matt Jack­son is head of con­ser­va­tion strat­egy at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

Calvert Ju­bilee na­ture re­serve

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