HS2 in South Yorkshire

4th Apr 2014

We have expressed concern about the proposed route of HS2 through South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, as it could destroy or damage several areas of natural beauty and tranquillity as well as sites of ecological importance – including ancient woodlands and hedgerows, wetlands and moorlands.

Andrew Wood, CPRE South Yorkshire’s planning officer, said “The HS2 route will slice huge embankments and cuttings through some of the last remaining open, quiet landscapes in South Yorkshire and North-East Derbyshire – for example at Rother Valley Country Park and at Swaithe Wood, between Wombwell and Barnsley.”

“In principle, CPRE supports the idea of a new rail route that would make the whole railway network work much better, and reduce road and aviation traffic,” Andrew Wood continued. “But HS2 won’t do that, because it is not integrated with other transport systems: there is no plan for how it will make travel more sustainable.”

CPRE has called for HS2 to demonstrate how it will connect with other local and regional rail services and how it will reduce carbon emissions. There is also a risk that the proposed new HS2 station at Meadowhall will generate extra road traffic in an area already blighted by dangerous levels of air pollution.

The Wildlife Trust’s primary concern is for the wildlife in the region, whilst CPRE are campaigning to protect the open and tranquil countryside which currently provides relief between heavy-industrialised and developed landscapes. Both agree that the proposed mitigation proposed is wholly inadequate.

The Trust’s chief executive, Liz Ballard, explains, “Our main concern is obviously for the wildlife in our region. With so many areas potentially destroyed or damaged, our vision for a connected network for nature and all the work we’ve done over the last few decades towards this vision, will be under threat. Local ancient woodlands and wildlife sites could be lost”

Careful analysis of the proposed route through Sheffield and Rotherham, by Trust staff, using a 50m buffer zone either side of the track, has identified that the following sites will be impacted:

  • Twelve local wildlife sites (totalling 329 hectares), including three ancient woodlands (totalling 46 hectares): Smithy Wood, Hesley Wood and Woodland at Hesley Tip.
  • Other important wildlife sites including: Holbrook Marsh, Woodhouse Washlands and Treeton Dyke.

“We recognise that the proposed link could potentially benefit local people and the jobs market, and that a sustainable transport network could have a positive impact on the drive for a low carbon economy” Liz says.

“But, the proposed route would cause significant, in some cases, irreparable damage to designated wildlife sites, including the loss of irreplaceable ancient woodland habitat. Currently we cannot see any gain for wildlife from this proposal and so have decided to oppose this development”. 

If you have any concerns or questions about the proposals or consultation, contact 0114 263 4335 or julie@cprepeakandsyorks.org.uk