HS2 Ltd claim ‘no net loss in biodiversity’ will occur after demolishing wild habitats to create new railway infrastructure. This includes the destruction of ancient woodlands, which are irreplaceable. Cheshire Wildlife Trust investigated the accuracy of HS2 Ltd’s data. Many errors were found in HS2’s calculations, and HS2’s metric was “untested, outdated, and fundamentally flawed“. Their datasets were withheld for years after releasing their No Net Loss figures, concealing the errors and omissions in their report.

Phase 1: True cost is 17.36% loss of biodiversity * (HS2 calculated 2.6%, which is inaccurate)

Phase 2a: True cost is 42.8% loss of biodiversity* (HS2 calculated 17.2%, which is inaccurate)

*As calculated by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, using accurate data analysis without data errors

Phase 1 will cause 7.9 x more biodiversity loss than HS2 claims

Phase 2a will cause 3.6 x more biodiversity loss than HS2 claims

How did they get the data set so wrong?

  1. Significant mapping errors: Many features (trees, ponds, watercourses) were not mapped, and remain unaccounted for in HS2 Ltd’s assessments
  2. Watercourses: No differentiation was made between the biodiversity of different watercourses (e.g. a healthy river, compared to a ditch with low biodiversity value). Only the overall loss in length was accounted for.
  3. Woodland: HS2 Ltd plan to mitigate the destruction of habitats by creating new wildlife habitats, elsewhere. They calculated a 50%+ overvaluation of the compensatory woodland, and 33.3% overvaluation of compensatory grassland.
  4. Hedgerows: Baseline calculations of hedgerows have “significantly” undervalued

The Wildlife Trusts have an open letter to Rt Hon Mark Harper MP and Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP calling on them to address new evidence of ecological assessment errors by HS2 Ltd. We have signed the letter, will you?

Written by Elizabeth Polkey