Nature and climate spared as Government cancels HS2 eastern leg to Leeds - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts applaud the Government’s decision to “take a fresh look” and scrap the High Speed 2 Phase 2b eastern leg to Leeds.

Cancelling this section of the huge transport project will save vast swathes of natural wild places and spare the rare birds and carbon-storing habitats that were threatened by the proposed development.

A significant number of nationally and locally important designated nature areas now face a welcome reprieve although The Wildlife Trusts will watch the proposed upgrading of other routes carefully to see if new threats to nature emerge. We will push for the delivery of net gain for nature as part of any infrastructure upgrade works.

Nikki Williams, The Wildlife Trusts’ director for Campaigning and Communities says: “The Wildlife Trusts have long campaigned against HS2 – alongside thousands of others – because of the huge damage it will do to nature and communities along the route. Now the Integrated Rail Plan has made it clear that there are alternatives to HS2. We support the principle of sustainable transport, but along with other nature charities, we cannot back such an environmentally catastrophic project. The first phase of the route is already under construction and we’re witnessing the shocking reality for affected communities and the much-loved countryside that has been destroyed around them. We live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world and HS2 is the cause of yet more loss of some of our most important wild places. As COP26 ends it’s time for HS2 Ltd to respond to the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss – the company must meet its own sustainability targets but so far there is no evidence this will be achieved.”

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Posted On: 18/11/2021

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