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HS2 and the Natural Environment

All leading environmental organisations agree that climate change is the biggest future threat to UK habitats. By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut traffic and domestic flight demand and help reduce carbon emissions.

Our ambition is to design and build the most sustainable high-speed railway in the world, so that we can play our part in helping the UK to tackle climate change, improve air quality and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan set the ambition for ours to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than before. HS2 is much more than a railway – it is an investment in conserving and enhancing Britain’s natural environment for future generations.

  • We are minimising our effect on the natural environment as we build.
  • We are creating a Green Corridor along the spine of the country.
  • We have made funding available to create and restore woodlands, habitats and community green spaces.

Our online mapping tool shows where new habitats are being created and where community projects are being supported through our funds.

Green Corridor mapping tool

We are minimising our effect on the natural environment as we build

Our environment, landscape and design teams have worked hard to avoid and minimise any effect on both the urban and rural sections of the route, which is why over half of the Phase One route is in a tunnel or cutting. To compensate for unavoidable losses, our plans go beyond a simple like for like response.

  • We are planting more than double the area of woodland than has been affected along the route between Birmingham and London.
  • We are planting up to seven million trees and shrubs along this stretch of the route and will leave behind 30% more wildlife habitats than exist currently.
  • We are creating over 33 square kilometres of new woodland and wildlife habitats between Birmingham and London alone – an area equivalent to 23 new Hyde Parks.
  • We are investing in locally-led environmental projects to enhance community spaces and recreational areas.
  • We will restore ancient woodland via our HS2 Woodland Fund and will protect many different species of wildlife along the route.

We are planting more than double the area of woodland than has been affected along the route between Birmingham and London.

In line with our commitment to Parliament in the HS2 Phase One Act, we will leave behind bigger, better, more joined up landscapes and wildlife habitats than we found.

Watch this update from an area of new planting.

We are creating a Green Corridor along the spine of the country

Our Green Corridor will run alongside the railway, creating a network of bigger, better-connected, climate resilient habitats and new green spaces for people to enjoy.

We have already started planting new woodlands and creating new ponds, grasslands and meadows, with many new habitats flourishing, before a single train has started running.

Green rushes and reeds grow on a pond. Behind it an old barn sits with tall trees on the horizon.
Finham Brook: HS2 has created this new habitat in Warwickshire.

An example of this is Finham Brook in Warwickshire, where six new ponds have been created for great crested newts to breed in, extensive grassland has been planted to support local wildlife and over 6,200 new trees have been planted comprising native species typical of the local area such as oak, hazel, hawthorn and holly.

We have made funding available to create and restore woodlands and community green spaces

We want to look for opportunities to maximise environmental benefits for nature and people along the route.

By working in partnership with organisations and individuals who share the Government’s ambition to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, we can achieve much more together than we can alone.

Grants are available for a wide range of independent environmental projects to benefit nature and communities along the route, This could include creating new parks and play facilities, investing in green spaces in urban areas, regenerating areas along canals, and conserving and enhancing the historic environment too.

There are also opportunities for ‘in kind’ contributions from supply chain companies involved in designing and building HS2.

We encourage everyone to work with us to improve our natural environment and to get involved in expanding the benefits of the Green Corridor.

By working together we can ensure HS2’s Green Corridor delivers a positive, long term legacy for the natural and historic environment and for people and communities across the spine of the country.

Read our Green Corridor Prospectus for more information on the Green Corridor and funds available or access our online map [add link] showing where we are delivering the Green Corridor.

Green Corridor Prospectus