‘HS2 Ltd is failing the Buckinghamshire environment’, says CLA

25 March 2014

The CLA South East is warning that the opportunity to protect and improve the Buckinghamshire environment will be missed if HS2 does not begin consulting more closely with landowners in the county.

Last week the CLA, which represents country landowners and rural businesses, told the Environmental Audit Select Committee that HS2 Ltd is missing the opportunity to deliver a better environment.

The association said HS2’s reluctance to consult with landowners over delivering, managing and maintaining new habitats will hinder the environment.

CLA South East Regional Surveyor Tim Broomhead said: “HS2 Ltd aims to carry out the project with no net loss to the environment. Yet the company has failed to consult adequately with landowners in Buckinghamshire – who currently manage the countryside – about where to create and maintain new habitats to help off-set those that will be lost.”

“It is simply not good enough for Government to compulsory purchase land for biodiversity offsetting arbitrarily, in the vain hope that a good habitat will result where market solutions may be available.

“HS2 needs to engage fully with Buckinghamshire landowners to look for the best opportunities to create and maintain new habitats. This may be away from the railway corridor and on less productive land, in locations with a lesser impact on agricultural and other businesses.”

The CLA said detailed plans must be in place to show how this habitat will be established, maintained, monitored and paid for. If the habitat were really well managed, then less land would need to be acquired.

Mr Broomhead added: “Buckinghamshire landowners need to be consulted urgently to ensure the best management options for this replacement are considered, not after swathes of additional land have been compulsory purchased without a proper plan.”