Wildlife Trusts: HS2 Ltd miscalculated the impact on the environment

Date:

Wildlife Trusts: HS2 Ltd miscalculated the impact on the environment

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Wednesday, February 08, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • According to a report by the Wildlife Trusts, HS2 Ltd. neglected to include trees, ponds, and hedgerows on their maps.

  • It said that the project’s biodiversity impact assessment technique was “fundamentally defective.

  • The analysis discovered that Phase One, which involves 140 miles of track between London and the West Midlands, will result in almost eight times more “nature loss” than was taken into consideration by HS2 Ltd’s projections.

  • Rachel Giles of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust wrote the report and was shocked by the mistakes and strange things they found.

  • He asserted that the methodology used by HS2 Ltd. was “ten years out of date” and that the company was “grading its homework.”

Environmental groups say that the company building the controversial HS2 train line overestimated how it would affect wildlife and habitats.

According to a report by the Wildlife Trusts, HS2 Ltd. neglected to include trees, ponds, and hedgerows on their maps.

It said that the project’s biodiversity impact assessment technique was “fundamentally defective.”

The report from the trust was deemed “not reliable” by HS2 Ltd.

The trusts are asking HS2 Ltd. to look at the effects of building on nature again and to stop building.

The Wildlife Trusts reported that it took them a year to conduct their study.

According to the audit findings, HS2 Ltd.’s measure (their “accounting instrument” for analyzing environmental impacts) is untested, outdated, and fundamentally incorrect, as well as a long list of errors when assessing the pre-existing nature.

Features like streams, hedges, and woods are assigned values that can fit into a spreadsheet and be considered so that developers may determine how development projects will affect the environment.

According to the trusts’ assessment, older hedgerows have been given “a lower natural value than the new hedgerows” that HS2 Ltd would plant, even though they “offer berries, shelter, and places for species to breed.” Some waterways, ponds, and trees were “left out of the data,” according to the statement.

The analysis discovered that Phase One, which involves 140 miles of track between London and the West Midlands, will result in almost eight times more “nature loss” than was taken into consideration by HS2 Ltd’s projections. Wherever possible, the report used data from HS2 Ltd.

According to the document, Phase 2a between the West Midlands and Crewe will cause a 42% loss of nature, as opposed to the 17% loss predicted by HS2 Ltd.

Dr. Rachel Giles of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust wrote the report and was shocked by the mistakes and strange things they found.

She said, “HS2 Ltd. must discontinue using a seriously faulty method to estimate the value of nature impacted by the route.” It’s crazy that a significant infrastructure project can use a metric that hasn’t been tested and doesn’t work well.

“While there is still time to improve the scheme’s design and implementation, HS2 Ltd. should quickly recalculate the total loss to nature by reevaluating the current biodiversity along the whole route.”

The findings are “hugely disturbing,” according to Tom Oliver, professor of applied ecology at the University of Reading.

He claimed that HS2 Ltd. was “grading its own homework” and that its methodology was “ten years out of date.”

You can’t go back in time and erase the phase one work that has already been done, but for phase two, because of how vital these natural ecosystems are, doing the extra work to recalculate seems like a no-brainer.

In response to the trust’s report, a representative for HS2 Ltd stated that the company “didn’t recognize the data” and “didn’t believe it was reliable.”

Unlike the ecologists who gathered the data for HS2, the Wildlife Trusts have only done a small amount of desk research. The spokeswoman said they haven’t been able to do ecological assessments on large land areas.

When the government’s biodiversity indicator is released in the upcoming months, they said they would “align more closely with” it after examining their evaluation methods.

The Trusts demanded that HS2 Ltd. immediately halt all construction and permitting activities and revoke the bill authorizing the Crewe-Manchester section of the railway. It required that the business re-map existing habitats and re-estimate the environmental impact.

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