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Branded a crime scene: Land HS2 has cleared in Bucks

Branded a crime scene: Land HS2 has cleared in Bucks

Published by Charlotte Fisher at 5:39am 17th April 2019. (Updated at 5:51am 17th April 2019)

Buckinghamshire land that is being cleared for HS2 has been branded a crime scene by campaigners. 

On Thursday (11th April), HS2 contractors, started removing hedgerows from a 300 acre site of countryside.

And, there was an angry reaction earlier this month after netting was spotted near Quainton because it's nesting season.

Branded a crime scene: Land HS2 cleared in Bucks
Vegetation that has already been cleared by HS2

Councillor Charlie Clare told us:

"We are terrified that they will rip out this slice of countryside and then in six months time, designs for whatever reason may or may not go ahead, because it is on a knife-edge at the moment.

"Then mature trees that are irreplaceable will have gone and it will cost a fortune to replace this habitat."

The community of Steeple Claydon and Calvert have told us:

  • So far approximately 200 metres of hedgerow have been cleared 
  • Residents started a petition to stop this work, which gathered over 2,500 signatures
  • HS2 are working with a team of ecologists who are providing "Permit to Clear" certificates for these vegetation clearances, but campaigners claim the ecologists are working for HS2.
Branded a crime scene: Land HS2 cleared in Bucks
Campaigners claiming HS2 is operating outside of the law

The community believe that HS2’s work is unethical, illogical and they're now worried that it may also be illegal. 

They sent the petition to HS2 headquarters last month and have had no response.

Branded a crime scene: Land HS2 cleared in Bucks
Land cleared by HS2 near Steeple Claydon has been branded a crime scene by campaigners

People are also worried now that the Notice to Proceed, the mechanism where the Government signs off that HS2 can proceed, has been delayed until December 2019. 

This 6 month delay would allegedly enable HS2 to move the vegetation clearance (if required) out of the bird nesting season, but this would cost more of Taxpayers' money.

Video of hedgerow being cleared filmed by campaigners

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson has said:

“We would like to assure people that all our mitigation work complies with environmental standards, and we follow established best practice guidelines.

"This temporary netting is to discourage birds from nesting during construction and was installed before the nesting season started.

"This method is only used in exceptional circumstances, and under the guidance of a suitably experienced ecologist.

"Our ecologists have completed working method statements in advance of vegetation clearance works commencing, and supervision is provided at all times by an on-site ecologist during the undertaking of clearance.”

You can see all of our HS2 articles here.

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