A LETTER signed by more than 66,000 people has been delivered to 10 Downing Street calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “stop and re-think” the controversial HS2 rail project.
It was delivered by the chief executive officers of six Wildlife Trusts – including Cheshire Wildlife Trust chief Charlotte Harris.
The letter is a move to highlight the huge risks that HS2 poses to the environment, and asks the Prime Minister to ensure that the impact on nature is properly assessed as a matter of urgency.
It comes in addition to strenuous opposition to the rail scheme from the Warrington area – particularly in the Culcheth- Rixton-with-Glazebrook area which would suffer major disruption if the HS2 Golborne Link goes ahead.
Cllr Frank Allen, chairman of the Culcheth and District Rail Action Group (CADRAG) said: “We are hopeful that at least the Golborne Link – the part that would affect us locally – will be dropped.
“It is not needed and if it was dropped it would save a lot of the cost. It is not cost effective – for every £1 spent on it you would only get 15p back.”
Charlotte Harris, chief executive of Cheshire Wildlife Trust said: “It is fantastic to see that the campaign has gathered so much support in just a few weeks. In that time, over 3,000 people in our local area have signed our letter to the Prime Minister showing that they want the project to be held accountable for the devastation that it will ultimately cause our local wildlife. Current plans will devastate grassland meadows, ancient woodlands and internationally important wetlands putting local species on the verge of extinction. We’re calling on the Prime Minister to stop and re-think HS2 “
Current plans for the rail line cut right through one of the four likely remaining water vole populations in Cheshire. The species is already in rapid decline and, as it stands, HS2 is set to put their very existence in Cheshire at risk.
A recent report published by The Wildlife Trusts, revealed evidence of the vast scale of destruction and impact that HS2 could cause to nature. ‘What’s the damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much’ is the most comprehensive assessment of potential environmental damage.
Dr Rachel Giles, a leading figure in the creation of the report said: “In any definition of the word, it is not a sustainable scheme anymore; the environmental impacts of HS2 are enormous. We’ve lost so much biodiversity due to changes in land use and this will have a really big impact on the remaining wildlife. The impacts in Cheshire alone are going to be dire.”