Large scale Woodland destruction ‘can and will be fixed’ says HS2 Site Supervisor
A HS2 Site Supervisor has stated that the destruction of habitat by the project ‘now can and will be fixed’. The site supervisor working on HS2, who opted to remain nameless, says this amid controversy over the number of woodland habitats being harmed for the progress of the train line.
Why were the routes picked?
On the routes picked, the supervisor said that the tracks have to take the routes they do;
‘it has to accommodate the increase in speed, so cannot have too many bends.’
Therefore, according to him, the destruction of habitats was always going to be a reality for the Line to go ahead.
Why are access roads necessary?
He addressed the cutting down of trees such as the 300-year-old Hunningham Oak, so that access roads could be put in.
‘It (access roads) stops very large construction vehicles having to use small town roads, which would clog them up big time.’
Those that are anti-HS2 would argue that the construction vehicles shouldn’t be there in the first place. Protesters mourned the loss of the tree and took to Twitter to call it ‘criminal’. Ethnobotanist James Wong suggested the tree could have simply been moved, as has been done in Singapore.
Despite this destruction, the supervisor did say that there will be actions taken to repair the damage.
‘They are going to plant all of the lost habitat, but of course this will be many years down the line.’
This timeframe therefore makes the project a ‘lose lose’ situation according to him. He also admitted that despite their efforts to make up for the destruction in future;
‘it could be argued the damage is already done.’
Boris makes a pledge
This all comes as the Government pledged to protect 4,000 square kilometres of UK land. The statement on their website said that:
‘Existing National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas already comprise approximately 26% of land in England. An additional 4% — over 400,000 hectares, the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined — will be protected to support the recovery of nature.’
This 4% extra land protected is simply not enough for those who want the preservation of current habitats. The line certainly doesn’t seem to have the backing of those that have knowledge of wildlife and ecosystems.
One well known critic of HS2, wildlife expert Chris Packham, had this to say on the pledge made by the Government:
This presents the issue that encapsulates all of the arguments from either side, preservation of what is currently there, against destruction for an apparently greener tomorrow.
Present vs Future
Many of the statements made by those that are pro-HS2 suggest that this is positive technological improvement for the future, and the environmental benefits will come down the line. As an environmental spokesperson for HS2 said…
‘HS2 will be a cleaner, greener way to travel, offering some of the lowest carbon emissions per passenger kilometre, significantly less than cars and domestic air travel.’
For those that are anti, it’s the destruction of living, breathing habitats that is so galling, why destroy to put in a train line that will only cut tens of minutes off journey times?
This will be a huge issue of contention for years to come, but with construction ongoing and not looking like stopping, one side is definitely winning the battle overall.
What are your views on HS2 and its impact? Will it bring a greener tomorrow, or be a waste of time? comment below with your thoughts.