• HS2 and the Environment

    27 September 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about the environmental impact of HS2.
    In my opinion, HS2 is a vital project for the UK. It will increase capacity on our congested railways, improve connections between our biggest cities and regions, and generate jobs, skills and economic growth, helping us build an economy that works for all. HS2 will provide the capacity we need by trebling the number of seats into Euston in peak time, and almost doubling the number of trains on the West Coast mainline corridor.
    Ensuring that the project strikes the right balance between the needs of affected communities and the environment, and the long-term needs of the country as a whole has been at the heart of the Government's approach to HS2. The project will continue to be developed, designed and constructed as an environmentally sustainable solution in line with HS2 Ltd's Sustainability Policy. This commits to the protection of the environment through seeking to avoid significant adverse effects on communities, businesses and the environment, including the prevention of pollution.
    The policy also commits to minimising impacts where they occur, and delivering enhancements as far as reasonably practicable to attain no net loss to the natural environment. Planting trees along the route is an example of this, and I am pleased that over two million trees will be planted for habitat creation and screening as part of HS2 Phase 1. Planting will reflect local landscapes, including broad-leaved woodland, shrubs, and hedgerow.
    HS2 Ltd has also committed to setting up an independent Ecology Review Group. This group will have regular access to the monitoring data from new planting sites, and will be invited to comment on progress and suggest any improvements. Members of the Ecology Review Group will include local authorities and nature conservation NGOs such as the Woodland Trust.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General