Wildlife Trusts still worried about HS2 in the Warrington area

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CHESHIRE Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside are still to fight the HS2 proposals in the Warrington area.

They will continue to press HS2 Ltd to seriously consider the damage the line might do to wildlife following recent announcements by the Government.

The Trust is frustrated that it will continue to have to divert some of its precious resources to holding the company to account on both the western legs of Phase 2b – from Crewe to a new terminus at Manchester Piccadilly and the spur known locally as the Golborne Link.

This spur of HS2 splits from the main leg of Phase 2b near Knutsford and passes close to Lymm, continues through Culcheth then goes onto the West Coast main line a few miles south of Wigan, and so on to Glasgow.

The route will damage or destroy areas of ancient woodland and veteran trees between Crewe and Manchester airport as well as cause major environmental damage in the Culcheth area.

Rachel Giles, evidence and planning manager for Cheshire Wildlife Trust said: “The Golborne link will directly impact the Great Manchester Wetlands Nature Improvement Area peatlands that currently hold tons of carbon locked up in their soils and provide habitat for vulnerable species. The earthworks needed to create the rail link will destroy large swathes of countryside including numerous sites designated for their wildlife value and each mile of track will see approximately 3 miles of hedgerows removed.

“We will also be closely monitoring proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail following the announcement to introduce a further hybrid Bill for a section of new line connecting Warrington to HS2.
“In a county that has already seen devastating impacts to wild places through changes in land use and development, Phase 2b of HS2 is set to compound these losses by further fragmenting vulnerable species populations and their habitats. As far as we know there are no green bridges planned for this section of the track. The impact will be particularly severe along numerous impacted rivers and streams with around 27 watercourses due to be channelled into extensive concrete culverts under the track.

“With this new announcement we hope that HS2 will now be better equipped to meet its environmental commitments as set out in its Environmental Policy and achieve the ‘measurable net gain for nature’ that has been promised. We will look to HS2 to provide verifiable evidence to show how this can be achieved.”

Sign up to their e-newsletter to keep up to date with how you can help: www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/e-newsletter.

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