The RSPB believes that essential major infrastructure can be developed in harmony with nature - that’s why we work hard with government, local authorities and developers to make sure new schemes avoid damaging our most important wildlife wherever possible, mitigate as much as possible and compensate, if doable, for any unavoidable damage. In the climate and ecological emergency we really need all developers to step up and show some leadership.
We’ve been working with HS2 Ltd since the outset to do this. But with every passing stage they have ignored much of our advice and the scheme has descended into an example of worst, rather than best, practice.
Last year we reviewed our position on HS2 in light of our experience and came out in public opposition.
Given all this, we were disappointed not just with the Government's decision to proceed with HS2, but also with the wild claims that it will be an environmentally leading scheme. As an organisation with long experience of ensuring nature-friendly development and given our experience with HS2, we feel it is our responsibility to make it clear that the scheme, as currently stands is a million miles away from this.
We remain committed to making all developments adhere to best practice. The Department for Transport wrote to us on the day of the Government's announcement explaining the decision and asking for our feedback, we spent time considering how to respond.
Earlier this week we sent them our response.
Our letter, which is attached here, sets out our disappointment with the current scheme, our experience of working with HS2, and sets out the major changes to the scheme which would be required to make it the leading scheme promised. If they are able to commit to these changes, in writing, then we are willing to work with government, HS2 ltd and others to make the most for nature.
But if the scheme cannot meet these conditions, then we do not believe HS2 can be referred to as ‘a leading scheme’ and our opposition will remain.
A brilliant letter.
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