HS2 are to host a webinar explaining the new habitats created for local wildlife in the West Midlands and Warwickshire.
Around 250,000 trees will be planted in the West Midlands and Warwickshire by HS2’s enabling works contractor LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd) and their team of ecologists and landscape architects, with 80,000 already planted.
As well as this, 40 ponds and many acres of wetland, heathland and meadow in the region have been created. New wildlife habitats in a variety of locations include new badger setts, bat houses, bird boxes, reptile banks and bug houses to help local wildlife populations thrive.
The new woodlands will form part of HS2’s ‘green corridor’ which will see up to 7 million new trees and shrubs planted between London and the West Midlands, and which will support carefully balanced local ecosystems running through the spine of the country.
HS2 is hosting a webinar on Wednesday 30 September where attendees will hear about the habitats that have already been created in the region, and learn about HS2’s future plans.
Near to the site in Solihull where the new HS2 Interchange station is being constructed, a new habitat at Biddles Loop is now full of new species-rich grassland, ponds with bulrushes, and native woodland planting right next to the existing Coleshill and Bannerly Pools Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
HS2 has also teamed up with local wildlife volunteers to find new homes for rare wild orchids, successfully relocating over 50 plants to the Ladywalk Nature reserve near Coleshill, Nelsons Wharf near Southam, and Ryton Wood Meadows near Coventry.
Furthermore, a ‘training pond’ for otters has been created on land near Stoneleigh Park to ensure that pups can safely adopt anti-predator behaviour and learn foraging and hunting skills, before they take to the waters of the nearby River Avon.
HS2’s Phase One Ecology Lead Kat Stanhope said: “Our aim is for HS2 to be the most sustainable railway in the world, and it will make a major contribution to helping Britain fight climate change and reach its net zero carbon targets by 2050. But even before HS2 starts operating, there are countless environmental projects and innovations occurring up and down the route to protect, preserve and enhance Britain’s precious natural environment.
“We have a clear vision for improving the natural environment in the areas around the new railway, such as Solihull and the wider region. We also recognise that every location is unique, so we’re making sure that our tailored landscape design and ecology work reflects the character of each unique location, and is designed to preserve local biodiversity.”
For more information about the webinar, click here.