Wildlife Trust hits out at Department for Transport over clearance works in Steeple Claydon

Protesters made their voices very clear at a protest in Steeple Claydon this week
Protesters made their voices very clear at a protest in Steeple Claydon this week

Buckinghamshire Berkshire and Oxfordshire wildlife trusts have written to HS2 Ltd expressing concerns about rare birds being affected by the vegetation clerance at Calvert Jubilee.

Cheryl Gillam MP for Amersham and Chesham took Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) traised serious concerns about the vegetation clearance planned by HS2 in Steeple Claydon, at the height of nesting season in Parliament this week.

Mrs Gillam asked what steps are being taken to ensure the protection of birds during the breeding season and other wildlife at the protected nature reserve at Calvert Jubilee Buckinghamshire during ground clearance activities by HS2 Ltd.

Mrs Ghani responded:

"HS2 Ltd and their contractors will comply with all relevant legislation, HS2Environmental Minimum Requirements, as well as any applicable Protected Species Licences when dealing with ecology within HS2 limits. The following protection measures are in place for vegetation clearance activities:

"For all birds during nesting season - A “Permit to Clear” System will apply. A suitably qualified ecologist will assess existing survey data and then verify this with surveys of the site in advance of the vegetation clearance taking place. Once the area has been confirmed to be free of nesting birds then clearance can commence.

"Otherwildlife at the Calvert Jubilee Local Nature Reserve – The “Permit to Clear” System is applicable; however, should the area be known to contain Protected Species, such as Great Crested Newt and Badgers, then the HS2 Ltd contractors will work in accordance with the HS2 Ltd organisational licences for these species.

"Where surveys identify other Protected Species present then contractors would undertake works in accordance with their legal protection and, where necessary, apply for mitigation licences from Natural England. Mitigation measures will be carried out under the supervision of suitably qualified ecologists where necessary."

Bucks Berks Oxon Wildlife Trust however have objected to this clearance work and have written to HS2 ltd to voice their objections.

"Regarding Calvert Jubilee, Calvert is particularly known for its warbler assemblage. The scrub mosaic and the lake fringing habitat is good for species such as cetti’s warbler, blackcap, garden warbler and reed warbler.

"Cuckoos are also a specialty on site presumably attracted by host species such as reed bunting and reed warbler.

"Waterbirds on the lake include common tern and great crested grebe.

"We object to the clearance works taking place during the bird nesting season and have written to HS2 to voice our objections."