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Managing our impact on the environment

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Managing our impact on the environment

We aim to build the most sustainable high speed railway in the world. Alongside improving connectivity and boosting the economy, it’s crucial that we manage our impact on the existing, natural environment.

To help do this, we’re going to create a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands and community spaces, helping to leave a lasting legacy along the route. We're calling this our ' green corridor ' to help integrate HS2 into the landscape, with the design of the railway respecting its surroundings. It will include a network of habitats ranging from woodlands and meadows to wetlands and ponds. They will replace any habitats affected by the construction of HS2, while conserving and enhancing some too.

To do this, we will create:

  • 9km2 of new woodlands featuring 7 million trees and shrubs – over double the amount affected by HS2
  • 4km2 of wildlife habitat – over 30% more habitat than HS2 affects
  • At a local level, new wildlife habitats ranging from badger setts to bat houses will support any animals affected by the construction of HS2. In many cases we’ll be able to leave behind bigger and better habitats than what’s already there. We’ll also have a responsible approach to natural resources, with most of the material we excavate for tunnels and cuttings being used as part of our earthworks. Ultimately, the green corridor should be able to support delicately balanced ecosystems running through the spine of the country.

    Wildlife Licences

    We undertake our ecological work in accordance within the necessary regulations, powers and licences. This includes our unprecedented programme of wildlife surveys and new habitat creation.

    Our approach is guided by the HS2 Act of Parliament and its Environmental Minimum Requirements. Ultimately, we are required to obtain the appropriate licenses from Natural England before undertaking any works that affect protected wildlife species. This includes species protected by the Habitats Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

    We have organisational licences for work affecting great crested newts and badgers along the Phase One route, which are renewed every two years. Both we and our contractors obtain licences for works affecting other protected species on a site-by-site basis.

    Local Environment Plans

    Inevitably, HS2 is going to leave a footprint on the British countryside. That’s something we want to carefully manage, while improving the environment where we can. To do this at a local level, we've got a series of Local Environment Management Plans for the Phase One route. These plans set out the site-specific control measures for HS2 contractors working within local authorities along the Phase One route.

    Click to view or download the Local Environment Management Plan for your area.

    If you have any questions about HS2 or our works, please contact our HS2 Helpdesk team on 08081 434 434 or email hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk .

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