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