Responding to the report published today (7 April) by the Environmental Audit Committee, the CLA has warned that HS2’s failure to consult adequately with local landowners will hinder environmental protection.
CLA Midlands Rural Surveyor Richard Goodwin said: “The report states that the Government should aim higher in terms of biodiversity offsetting, yet the greatest bio-diversity offsetting gains can be achieved when local farmers and landowners have a real input. Local people have the greatest understanding of the land and can help identify the most appropriate areas for creating and maintaining new habitats to help off-set those that will be lost.
“HS2 Ltd’s consultation with local landowners on environmental improvement has been inadequate. If there had been more engagement with landowners, HS2 Ltd could have established the best sites for biodiversity offsetting using less productive land that has less impact on agricultural and other businesses, requiring less land to be subject to compulsory purchase orders.”
“The HS2 Environmental Statement, published in 2013, contains a raft of environmental mitigation features but does not detail how the sites will be managed in the long-term. Landowners are best-placed to manage environmental mitigation, and we are urging HS2 to speak with our members to reach commercial deals for the long-term management of new environmental features.”