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HS2 plans to build a green corridor alongside railway

Words: Laura Edgar
Green corridor to be established alongside HS2 route / iStock-599126556

HS2 Ltd has announced its plans to deliver a green corridor comprising new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community landscapes alongside the High Speed 2 route.

The aim is to integrate the new line into its surrounding landscape and environment.

The Phase One route covers 216km from London to the West Midlands. The green corridor along here is set to include:

  • 7 million new trees and shrubs, comprising more than 40 native species specific to each location. They will cover over 9 square kilometres of land.
  • More than 33 square kilometres of new and existing wildlife habitat, and “increase of around 30 per cent compared to what’s there now”.
  • Tailor-made homes for wildlife, ranging from bat houses to 226 new ponds for great crested newts and other amphibians.
  • Earthworks and landscaping that will reuse around 90 per cent of the material excavated during construction.
  • The potential to support community projects and develop amenity spaces, such as access routes, public parks, open spaces and nature reserves.

Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Alongside improving connectivity, boosting the economy and unlocking new jobs and opportunities, I’m determined to ensure that HS2 also works for the environment and local communities.

“This starts by doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise the expected impact of our construction work. Longer term, we’ll be leaving behind a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands, and community spaces, helping to create a lasting legacy along the route.

“We’ve already got to work by supporting a range of community projects and creating a series of new habitats, including planting over 230,000 trees so far. We’ll be calling on local people and organisations to get involved as the ‘green corridor’ starts to take shape.”

Speaking at the launch of the green corridor project, HS2 minister Nusrat Ghani said the government supports the plans. She announced that more than £8 million of government funding will go towards creating new woodlands and delivering safer roads on the HS2 route.

Ghani also announced an additional £2 million for the HS2 Woodland Fund, which aims to help landowners along the route between Birmingham and Crewe to plant new trees.

She said: “As we deliver the new high-speed railway our country needs for economic growth and better journeys for passengers, it is imperative we set a new standard for preserving, protecting and enhancing our diverse woodlands and wildlife.

“HS2’s green corridor is one of the most significant tree-planting and habitat creation projects ever undertaken in this country. To support that vision, the government is providing an additional £2 million for the Woodland Fund to support native species and help more people enjoy more new green spaces than before.”

Image credit | iStock