Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust welcome the publication of this long overdue report and the fact that the Government has not blindly gone ahead with the eastern leg of HS2 (Phase 2b), as the case to spend tens of billions of pounds on this line has been weakening over recent years.
The Wildlife Trusts have highlighted the ecological damage and poor practice by HS2 so far and have asked the Government to ‘Stop and Rethink HS2‘.
We will need further detail on the headline plans to improve rail services from Sheffield towards London and Manchester in order to assess any impacts and opportunities for nature, but in general we welcome upgrading existing routes rather than creating new routes which create new barriers for wildlife and sever important nature recovery networks.
This new plan is especially good news for important wildlife habitats in Rotherham, including irreplaceable ancient woodlands which would have been directly impacted by the eastern leg.
We will continue to follow the details of this new plan as they emerge, to ensure that any issues for wildlife habitats in our area are addressed and that nature is prioritised within the new proposals.