It is wholly important that HS2 balances both the needs of affected communities and the environment, along with the long-term needs of the country as a whole. Ministers have launched an independent review of HS2, part of which will examine it’s environmental benefits, particularly carbon reduction to allow the UK to meet its net zero commitments. Although the review is ongoing, removals of ancient woodland for HS2 have been halted, unless they are considered absolutely necessary to avoid major cost.
HS2 Ltd’s Sustainability Policy commits to the protection of the environment through seeking to avoid significant adverse effects on communities, businesses and the environment, including the prevention of pollution. Further to that, the policy aims to minimise the impacts where they occur and deliver enhancements as far as reasonably practicable, to attain no net loss to the natural environment. I am pleased to say that on current plans a green corridor is being created alongside the railway, which includes the planting of seven million new trees and shrubs along the Phase One route from London to the West Midlands.
In addition to this, the Government has committed to providing support for local communities if HS2 is constructed, first along the Phase One route. A £70 million package has been made available which would help enhance community facilities and help improve road and cycle safety in towns and villages along the HS2 Phase One route. It would support local economies where businesses may experience disruption during the line’s construction. I have every confidence that these environmental considerations made on Phase One will also be applied to Phase Two Eastern Leg which would of course directly affect Broxtowe.