5th January 2017

The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) believes that wildlife protection can be balanced alongside economic priorities such as major infrastructure projects. However, this is dependent upon high professional standards and the application of best practice. As a government funded scheme HS2 should be an exemplar of best practice, not only of civil engineering but also of managing and successfully mitigating any adverse impacts on the natural environment.

Bechstein's bat

On 20th December the House of Lord's Select Committee published their report on HS2. The full report can be accessed here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-select-committee-lords/news-parliament-2015/hs2-bill-committee-publishes-report/

There are concerns about the treatment of Ancient Woodland and evidence relating to this which are expressed by the Woodland Trust in their response

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/press-centre/2016/12/hs2-lords-response/

BCT echoes these concerns for the potential to impacts on bats and biodiversity and in particular the woodland reliant Bechstein's bat. This species is rare in the UK with a restricted range that has a particular association with mature native woodland. It feeds in this habitat and roosts here all year round. Being so reliant for all elements of its life-cycle on this habitat means that losses to its availability and any fragmentation of this is a concern. Mature woodland takes a longtime to develop (Ancient woodland is irreplaceable) and compensation measures that require a long development time are not effective in supporting this species through the short and medium term to safeguard its conservation status.

More information:

BCT positions statement: http://www.bats.org.uk/news.php/295/hs2_updated_position_statement

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