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The environment and sustainability

HS2 Ltd’s ambition is to build the most sustainable high speed railway of its kind in the world.

Our green corridor will be home to wildlife and integrate HS2 into the landscape

Respecting the environment

We will deliver a railway that respects the natural environment by conserving, replacing or enhancing wildlife habitats with a new ‘green corridor’ along the route.

In our planning, construction and operation of the railway, we are committed to developing an exemplar project. We want to limit negative impacts through design, mitigation and by challenging industry standards whilst seeking environmental enhancements and benefits.

New station building in middle distance with trees and fields in foreground
Architect's vision of the new Interchange station in Solihull.

Managing our approach to the natural environment and ancient woodland

HS2 aims to be one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK. It will be a greener way to travel offering some of the lowest carbon emissions per passenger kilometre, significantly less than cars and domestic air travel.

We are determined to manage the impact of HS2 carefully and will improve the natural environment along the route wherever possible.

There are over 52,000 ancient woodland sites in England. Of these, 43 will be affected by the route between London and Crewe. Our ecologists have worked closely with our route engineers to ensure that over 80% of the total area of these 43 ancient woodlands will remain intact and untouched by HS2.

We are creating a green corridor along the route between London and the west Midlands which will encompass an area equating to the size of 4,600 football pitches for new and existing wildlife habitats – that’s an increase of around 30% compared to what’s there now.

We will also plant 7 million new trees and shrubs on the first phase of the railway alone including 40 native species, specific to each location.

In addition, for Phases 1 and 2a, a £7 million HS2 Woodland Fund is available to help restore existing ancient woodlands and to create new native woodlands that connect or extend existing ancient woodlands.

Learn more about HS2’s Ancient Woodland Strategies.

Planting an oak tree in a nursery field
Lincolnshire's Crowders Nurseries will be supplying 7 million trees and shrubs to HS2

Our mission to be sustainable

Our ambition is to build the most sustainable high speed railway of its kind in the world. We want a high speed railway network which changes the mode of choice for inter-city journeys, reinvigorates the rail network, supports the economy, creates jobs, reduces carbon emissions and provides reliable travel in a changing climate throughout the 21st century and beyond.

Sustainability at HS2 is about delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.

This includes delivering value to the UK taxpayer and passenger through taking decisions that seek to get the best value for money through the whole operating life of the railway. Our sustainability approach at HS2 groups our work into five themes reflecting the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability.

These themes support the HS2 vision of being a catalyst for growth across Britain and our mission, which includes being an exemplar project in our approach to engagement with communities, sustainability and respecting the environment.

The adoption of circular economy principles can play a key role in delivering this. They do so by stimulating new approaches, products and services, and by creating employment opportunities. Read more about our circular economy principles.

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