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UPDATED: HS2 hold off on Bucks nature reserve construction

From today, HS2 Limited were meant to be in charge of part of Calvert Jubilee near Steeple Claydon.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:32am 28th July 2020. (Updated at 11:27am 28th July 2020) 4-minute read.

UPDATED: HS2 hold off on Bucks nature reserve construction

UPDATE 11.00: HS2 have postponed taking over part of a Buckinghamshire nature reserve.

The company have updated us on the situation at Calvert Jubilee this morning.

Initially they were meant to take over part of the side run by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust today.

They now say this has been postponed, although it's not clear until when.

EARLIER STORY

There has been outcry on social media that part of a Buckinghamshire nature reserve is now under HS2's control.

As of this morning the company behind the project have taken over a slice of Calvert Jubilee from the Wildlife Trust.

It is so they can continue clearing land to build the rail line from London to Birmingham.

More on HS2 in Buckinghamshire

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust were told just the other day that the site would be taken over today (Tues).

Work had started back in December.

Estelle Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Trust, said in an email to supporters:

"Calvert Jubilee is one of the jewels in the crown of our nature reserves - a peaceful lakeside sprinkled with wild flowers and a quiet haven for wildlife and people, home to bittern, breeding tern, and some of our rarest butterflies.

"For years we have been battling against the Government’s plans for HS2 and the destructive impact the project will have on our wildlife and countryside.

"It is with great sadness that we have to report that on Tuesday 28 July HS2 will take legal possession of a large part of our Calvert Jubilee nature reserve and begin clearance works. They will destroy an area of the eastern side of the reserve to make space for the railway."

There has been a divided response to the news on social media, with campaigners saying they aren't happy that this is happening, whilst others argue that the line won't affect much of the reserve at all.

BBOWT say they haven't had notification from HS2 about when work will be happening and how access will be affected.

They say they will update visitors as soon as they can.

Only a small area affected, say HS2

An HS2 spokesperson said:

“The vast majority of the Calvert Jubilee nature reserve will be unaffected by this work and we have been working closely with the local Wildlife Trust to ensure that visitors will still be able to access the site.

"HS2 takes the environmental impact of construction very seriously, and we are delivering a ‘green corridor’ alongside the line made up of new woodland, wetland and other wildlife habitats, with 70,000 new trees planted across Buckinghamshire already this year.

"All leading environment organisations agree that climate change is the biggest threat facing wildlife and habitats in the UK. HS2 will get people out of their cars, off domestic flights and take lorries off our congested roads, reducing transport carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

They say is is up to the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust what remains open.

Mark Vallance, Reserves Manager for Bucks said:

"I grew up a few miles from Calvert Jubilee - my visits there as a young boy set me on the path to my career today. The areas that will be destroyed by HS2 have given me some amazing wildlife experiences over the years, including the incredible sight and sound of the elusive and rare nightingale. 

"I am heartbroken to know that in the coming weeks and months HS2’s chainsaws and diggers will finally roll onto one of our most diverse and beautiful nature reserves, destroying habitats that have been looked after by dedicated people for more than 40 years."

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