HS2 has set out plans to deliver a ‘green corridor’ consisting of new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community spaces to help integrate the new line into its surrounding environment.
The scale of planned works will be the largest ever undertaken by an infrastructure project in the UK, with a network of environmental projects stretching from London to the North of England.
Along the Phase One route, which covers 216km from London to the West Midlands, the green corridor will encompass:
- 7 million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, specific to each location. The new native woodlands will cover over 9 square kilometres of land.
- Over 33 square kilometres of new and existing wildlife habitat – equating to an area the size of 4,600 football pitches. That’s an increase of around 30% compared to what’s there now.
- Tailor-made homes for wildlife, ranging from bat houses to 226 new ponds for great crested newts and other amphibians.
- Earthworks and landscaping which will re-use around 90% of the material excavated during construction.
- The potential to support community projects and develop amenity spaces such as access routes, public parks, open spaces and nature reserves.
- Work on the pioneering initiative is expected to set new standards for how Britain and the rest of Europe builds the next generation of major infrastructure projects.
Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Alongside improving connectivity, boosting the economy and unlocking new jobs and opportunities, I’m determined to ensure that HS2 also works for the environment and local communities. This starts by doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise the expected impact of our construction work.
“Longer-term, we’ll be leaving behind a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands, and community spaces, helping to create a lasting legacy along the route.”
The appearance of the green corridor will be tailored to the surrounding environment, with native tree species used to ensure that the new woodlands reflect the unique landscape and ecology of the different regions the line passes through.