HS2 contractor to 'decimate' protected area near Steeple Claydon

200 acres of mature trees and hedgerows near Steeple Claydon are set to be destroyed by HS2 contractors.

By Thomas Bamford
Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 10:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 10:54 am
Enough is enough!
Enough is enough!

To make matters worse, this is set to be done at the peak of nesting season.

HS2 call the process 'vegetation clearance works' and is set to decimate the local wildlife and vegetation surrounding Steeple Claydon and Twyford.

They said: "As part of HS2's programme of works preparing for the start of the construction of the new high speed railway, we will be undertaking a number of vegetation clearance activities within areas of land required for the project.

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Local Councillor John Chilver has hit out at the works

"The programme of activities is due to start during February 2019 and will continue until summer 2019."

Local district Councillor for Steeple Claydon, John Chilver said: "I am very concerned at the proposal by High Speed Two for vegetation clearance of 200 acres near Steeple Claydon, including mature trees and hedgerows, during the bird nesting season this spring.

"Notice of this was only given recently and there has been no explanation as to why this work has to be carried out during the nesting season when it is better to avoid it.

"The legislation states that birds and other protected species should not be disturbed, and there are strict rules for carrying out such work: a detailed ecology survey should be carried out beforehand, and a qualified ecologist should be in attendance the whole time.

"I have asked Fusion, the contractors carrying out the work, to provide these assurances and have also asked the ecology team at AVDC to monitor this.

"I am concerned not only about the impact on nesting birds but on the disturbance to the habitat of a range of wildlife.

"The land is close to two SSSIs - Sheephouse Wood and Finemere Wood - as well as other sites which support many rare and protected species including Bechstein bats and Black Hairstreak butterflies."

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said:

“HS2 aims to be one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK.

"We are committed to reducing the potential impact on the natural environment and aim to build a railway that supports new wildlife habitats, woodlands and community spaces which future generations can enjoy.

"The work in this area is in preparation to build the new railway, and follows strict ecological practices including specialist surveys where appropriate.”

There are two upcoming drop in events in the area for the public:

o 27 February, 4pm – 8pm, Calvert Green Community Hall, Cotswolds Way, Calvert Green, Bucks, MK18 2FJ

o 7 March, 4pm – 8pm, Steeple Claydon Library, Queen Catherine Road, Buckingham, MK18 2PY.