Wildlife organisations have expressed deep concern over the impact of the HS2 line, in evidence to a House of Commons inquiry.
The UK’s 47 wildlife trusts warned in a joint submission that HS2 “will damage and destroy more wildlife habitat and populations of wild species than will be replaced.”
And the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust highlighted devastating effects – including destroying 80 per cent of a key nature reserve.
The group highlighted the Park Hall Nature Reserve in the valley of the River Tame between Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich.
They said: “In Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull it has been estimated that four per cent of all the local wildlife sites will be adversely affected as a result of HS2 including many that will be lost entirely or subject to significant and permanent degradation.
“In Birmingham, the route and construction will destroy up to 80 per cent of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country’s Park Hall Nature Reserve. This is a significant loss to the local community, to the Wildlife Trust, for the habitats and species and for Birmingham’s ecological networks.”
However, they said they backed HS2 in principle, and it could be “used to restore the natural environment” if the Government used a “much more ambitious and integrated strategy” for mitigating the impact on the environment.
Park Hall is a large area of remnant farmland and estate grounds on the eastern edge of Birmingham. The reserve has three ancient woodlands, while the grassland below contains various wetland habitats which follow the old line of the River Tame.
It is known for spring displays of bluebell, ramsons, wood anemone, yellow archangel and numerous other woodland flowers. In the pools and former farm ponds are many amphibians including great crested-newt, common toad and common frog breed. Summer breeding birds include reed bunting, kingfisher, teal, mute swan and buzzard.