Stop and Rethink HS2

Rainham RSPB Reserve, Rainham, Essex, UK. Reedbed and high-sped train. Electricity pylons. - Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

The government should stop and rethink its plans for HS2, which will have an exorbitant cost for nature according to a new Wildlife Trust report. 

A review of the combined impact of the planned HS2 phases from London to Leeds and Manchester demonstrates the huge impact the project will have on wildlife. 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest are at risk from the proposals as are 693 Local Wildlife Sites.

Since the route of the first phase of HS2 was originally proposed the Wildlife Trusts have highlighted the significant damage the project will cause, and campaigned for the proposals to be revised to reduce its wildlife impact. This new report, which looks for the first time at the impact the proposals will have across the combined Phases 1 & 2 of HS2, shows that lessons not been learnt from phase 1, and that in many ways the impact gets even worse with the newer sections. 

The first phase of the proposals cuts through south Northamptonshire, carving through a limestone SSSI at Helmdon cutting before it leaves the county through an Ancient Woodland – Glyn Davis Wood, a nature reserve managed by the Banbury Ornithological Society. 

The HS2 proposals are currently under review by the Government, although they are focussing only on the economic costs of the proposals – estimated to be between 88 and 108 Billion pounds. The Wildlife Trusts asked the public to sign up to our letter to the Prime Minister asking him to stop the project, and to rethink the project because of the exorbitant cost to the environment. Over 66,000 people signed this letter, which was delivered to Number 10 in February 2020.

What's the Damage? Why HS2 will cost nature too much. Report cover.

What's the Damage? 

The Wildlife Trusts' report on HS2, published in 2020 with a call for the Government to stop and rethink the project.

Full Digital Report

Summary Report


HS2 should not get the green light in current form

On 30th January, an edited version of an open letter to the Prime Minister was printed in The Times, signed by the UK's environmental charities and ambassadors.. It calls on Boris Johnson to stop and rethink current plans for HS2 in light of the hugely damaging impact it'll have on our natural world.

Read the full letter
Wildlife at risk - HS2

Impact to wildlife from HS2.


Barn owl - Andy Rouse

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) hunting UK - Andy Rouse/2020VISION


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Corn bunting (Milaria calandra) singing in hedgerow at an arable farm in Hertfordshire. April 2011. - Chris Gomersall/2020VISION