Wildlife boss calls for ambitious HS2 nature restoration

Following the disappointment in the wake of the vote in favour of HS2, Northumberland Wildlife Trust is delighted that MPs have given the HS2 Select Committee a remit to consider environmental mitigation for the impact that the proposed route will have.

While the wildlife charity wants wildlife sites to be avoided, mitigation will be crucial to ensuring that the countryside along the route is restored and hopes that the mitigation package will be extensive and that it will benefit both the UK’s natural heritage and its people.

Steve Lowe, head of conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “The proposed route for HS2 threatens to destroy or damage hundreds of wild, precious and beautiful places that are treasured by people living along the entire route.

“Fortunately MPs have decided that the HS2 Select Committee can consider how to mitigate for the loss of these much-loved woods and other parts of our natural heritage.

“HS2 will have a massive impact which is why we’ve come up with a new vision that makes the case for a ribbon of natural areas, wild havens, green bridges and cycle ways along the corridor of the route.

“We hope that the Government will rise to the challenge and aim for an ambitious mitigation scheme.”

Initial costing suggests that environmental restoration on this scale could be achieved with less than one per cent of HS2’s overall budget of £42billion.

A greener vision for HS2: Ideas for large-scale nature restoration along the proposed route (both summary and full length reports) are available to read at www.wildlifetrusts.org/hs2, where more information about The Wildlife Trusts’ concerns regarding HS2 can be found.

In other news for the wildlife charity, Newcastle University Biology Society (BIOSOC), which has adopted Northumberland Wildlife Trust as its Charity of the Year for 2013/14, has raised £325 through a raffle at its annual Summer Ball which, in addition to the £117 raised at a recent bake sale, takes the running total to £442.

BIOSOC is so fired up by its fund-raising for the wildlife charity that it has decided to extend its support for another year.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the region working to safeguard native wildlife.

One of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK, it has campaigned for nature conservation for more than 40 years.

Supported by more than 13,000 individual and 100 corporate members in the region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust manages and protects critical species and habitats at more than 60 nature reserves throughout Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.