An artist's impression of HS2
An artist's impression of HS2

A wildlife organisation has welcomed the decision to extend the consultation period over HS2.

The House of Lords Standing Orders Committee ruled that the consultation over the environmental impact of the controversial high speed rail line – which will cut through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding villages – should now run until February 27.

The move came after it was revealed that 877 pages of documentation were missing – and follows a previous extension which was due to run until February 10.

A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line
A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line

Now Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is appealing for local people to help build a case against the “irreparable damage” HS2 would cause.

A spokesperson said: “More than 27 wildlife sites across the county are threatened by the route the two HS2 phases take, including woodland, wetland and heathland affecting a large number of wildlife species.

“Staffordshire Wildlife Trust believes that the proposed route will do irreparable damage, and is working hard to ensure it is avoided.

“The Trust is appealing for people living along both phases of the route to submit sightings of wildlife in the area, such as birds, mammals and amphibians, as well as potentially important natural habitats such as flowery road verges, ponds, woodland and grasslands.”

Records can be sent along with a date and location to Staffordshire Ecological Record online and by emailing planning@staffs-wildlife.org.uk.

Meanwhile, opponents of HS2 were dealt a blow earlier this week when the Supreme Court rejected judicial appeals against the line.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said that the decision supported the Coalition’s stance on high speed rail.

“The Government’s handling of the project has been fully vindicated by the highest court in the land,” she said.

“We will now continue to press ahead with the delivery of HS2.”

But Joe Rukin, from campaign group Stop HS2, said the verdict was not reflective of the overall situation.

“The court have ruled on a point of law, saying that HS2 haven’t acted illegally,” he said. “But the fact remains that HS2 Ltd have acted unfairly and irresponsibly right from the start.

“The Government will try and paint this as a positive, but the reality is that HS2 is being rushed through without due diligence, which has been demonstrated by two Parliamentary committees extending consultation deadlines in the space of a week, and we know that HS2 is the wrong project for the country at this time and the budget for this white elephant will only continue to balloon out of control.

“We will continue to fight, and in the end, we will win.”

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.