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"Vital" HS2 Would Boost Green Economy & Wildlife - Cortes

15 January 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has hit back after claims from The Wildlife Trusts that High Speed 2 (HS2) may damage protected wildlife sites. 

Cortes challenged the findings of the study – drawn from The Wildlife Trusts, charities and landowners along the route – saying the high-speed rail project would make a “very significant contribution towards cutting our carbon emissions” while actually “safeguarding our plants and wildlife”.

The Trusts have called on Boris Johnson to “stop and rethink” HS2. In response Cortes called for the project to go all the way to Scottish cities, citing both environmental and economic reasons for pressing ahead.

Cortes said: “The time for debate on HS2 is well and truly over. It should be given the green light and should go all the way to Scotland so that we are able to shift people and freight from road to rail.

“HS2 not only builds much needed rail capacity and puts rocket boosters under regional economies – but crucially will also make a very significant contribution towards cutting our carbon emissions.

“These are a major cause of climate change which is itself the greatest threat to our plants and wildlife.

“Of course, we expect HS2 to do whatever possible to protect wildlife along its route. Also, we know from the Olympic Park in London – which teems with plants, animals and insects – that much can be done to protect and enhance wildlife when building major infrastructure projects.

“I’d say to the Wildlife Trusts - the bigger picture on HS2 can’t be ignored. There is not a moment to lose in pushing ahead, the evidence shows this high-speed rail project is vital for our country in so many ways.”

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