CHESHIRE Wildlife Trust has welcomed a new environmental statement released by HS2 Ltd, which it says corrects inaccuracies about the amount of wildlife habitat that could be lost.

Concerns about the environmental figures relating to south Cheshire were raised by the trust in September.

Rachel Giles, evidence and planning manager at the trust, said: “In autumn we challenged the figures that HS2 Ltd had provided for the loss of wildlife habitat in south Cheshire as a consequence of Phase 2a of the scheme.

“We were highly critical of their environmental statement because we could see it had been rushed and the losses of habitat reported in the statement did not match the areas we could see on the maps.

“On Friday (March 23) the company admitted in a new report that it had indeed got its figures wrong.”

The report now identifies that an additional 3.1 hectares of lowland deciduous woodland and a further 8.8 km of hedgerows will be lost – a total 21km loss of hedgerow.

“HS2 Ltd have also finally admitted that important semi-natural grassland will also be impacted after this had been flagged up in our response,” said Rachel.

“Although we are reassured that the scale of the losses have finally been recognised we are disappointed that new amendments to the footprint of the scheme will result in even more losses of woodland.

“These new losses bring the total amount of native woodland lost in the south Cheshire area to 11 hectares.”

The trust has petitioned the House of Commons select committee in relation to the ‘unacceptable impacts to wildlife’ in south Cheshire and is waiting to hear if it will be invited to appear before the committee to present evidence.

The work of Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s planning and evidence team is supported through donations from its membership.

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