HS2 trackside ‘green corridor’ to include 7 million new trees and shrubs
Image credit: hs2
A network of habitats ranging from woodlands and meadows to wetlands and ponds will flank the new HS2 rail project.
The works will be largest ever undertaken by an infrastructure project in the UK, with a network of environmental projects stretching from London to the North of England.
Along the Phase One route, which covers 216km from London to the West Midlands, the green corridor will encompass:
7 million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, specific to each location.
More than 33 square kilometres of new and existing wildlife habitat which is roughly a 30 per cent increase on what’s there now.
Tailor-made homes for wildlife, ranging from bat houses to 226 new ponds for great crested newts and other amphibians.
Earthworks and landscaping that will re-use around 90 per cent of the material excavated during construction.
The government has also confirmed a £2m extension to the HS2 Woodland Fund, so it can cover Phase 2a of the railway, from the West Midlands to Crewe.
The fund is designed to help landowners near to the route directly create new native, broadleaf woodlands and restore existing ancient woodland sites. This is in addition to the extensive ‘green corridor’ plans and community funds that are already in place along the wider route.
Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, 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.”
Nusrat Ghani, HS2 Minister, said: “Our unique and beautiful countryside is one of our nation’s greatest assets. As we deliver the new high speed railway our country needs, for economic growth and better journeys for passengers, it is imperative we set a new standard for preserving, protecting and enhancing our diverse woodlands and wildlife.
The appearance of the green corridor will be tailored to the surrounding environment, with native tree species used to ensure that the new woodlands reflect the unique landscape and ecology of the different regions the line passes through.
In January, Conservative MPs described HS2 as a “white elephant” due to its ballooning costs and its environmental impact.