High Speed Rail (HS2)

Time to rethink

In the most comprehensive environmental assessment to date we can reveal the sheer scale of potential damage from HS2.  Our report shows that the deep cut HS2 will make across the landscape could stop nature’s recovery in its tracks. As the costs to nature escalate, we’re urging the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to use his power now to stop and rethink this project, or the scar may never heal.

The planned route passes close to our eastern border and although the line will not enter Shropshire, infrastructure upgrades to allow the construction of HS2 to happen will have a huge impact on the landscape around the north-east corner of our county. 

The facts

The report conducted by The Wildlife Trusts  finds that HS2’s current proposals will risk causing the loss of, or significantly impact:

- 5 recognised Wildlife Refuges of international importance, protected under international, EU and UK nature laws

- 33 official Sites of Special Scientific Interest, protected under UK nature law

- 693 classified Local Wildlife Sites, protected under UK planning policy

- 21 designated Local Nature Reserves, protected under UK nature laws

- 26 approved Large landscape-scale initiatives, including:

- 4 Nature Improvement Areas, 3 of which received £1.7million of public money for restoration

- 22 Living Landscapes – partnership schemes set up to restore nature and which are still active

- 18 Wildlife Trust-owned Nature Reserves, all of which are cared for and managed with thanks to public funds and donations

- 108 irreplaceable Ancient Woodlands, protected under UK planning policy

- More irreplaceable habitats such as veteran trees, historic wood pasture and old meadows

- Extensive further areas of wider natural habitat

- Barn owls and endangered wildlife populations such white-clawed crayfish, willow tit and lizard orchid. Rare species such as dingy skipper butterfly could become locally extinct.

HS2 and the environment


Hundreds of important habitats and special wild places are under threat from the government's proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network. Ancient woodland, lakes, meadows and other important habitats are at risk. Yet, there has not been a Strategic Environmental Assessment and the compensation plans being put forward are not good enough.

The Government and HS2 Ltd acknowledge that the route can't be delivered without extreme harm to the natural environment. Furthermore, the deep cut and divisive scar the route will cause along the length of England's habitats pose a genuine barrier to the urgent action required to recover nature and restore landscapes. The current approach to HS2 means that a Nature Recovery Network would be impossible.

The potential damage is too great - especially while we are facing an ecological and climate emergency. We need HS2 Ltd to stop and rethink.