Friday 13 November 2020
On 6 November, William Hague (Lord Hague of Richmond) sent an open letter to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, seeking assurances that all conservation and wildlife laws will be observed in the construction of HS2 and and that HS2 Ltd will demonstrate best practice in environmental management.
Lord Hague’s letter can be read here.
The letter follows concerns raised by individuals and professional ecologists regarding both rare barbastelle bats at Jones’ Hill Wood and water voles in the Colne Valley.
Lord Hague's concerns are shared by The Wildlife Trusts, The RSPB and Woodland Trust who have published a joint statement:
“HS2 Ltd has had many years to plan and deliver what is the country's largest major infrastructure project. The scheme must set an example and show best practice in its environmental protection and management, and not lead the system astray by limiting transparency or disregarding due diligence. In the case of ecological surveys and the obtaining of correct licences for instance, HS2 Ltd has had more than adequate time to follow the proper processes.
It would be a grave error if the Government allowed work to proceed that could be illegal as well as actively endangering wildlife - risking undermining every environmental commitment the Government has made about HS2. We urge the Secretary of State to listen to and act on the concerns raised by professional ecologists.”