Generally speaking I think trains are a good idea and I’m broadly in favour of developing more train infrastructure. What I’m not in favour of is the HS2 project which is going to cost a fortune and will trash irreplaceable ancient woodland.
I’ve run into this before – where apparently green solutions aren’t properly green because it’s not been thought through properly. Yes, tidal energy is clean, but getting it by ruining the unique habitat that is The River Severn is not the right answer. Yes, wind power is good, but not if you stick massive turbines in the paths of migrating birds, or destroy a unique habitat with them.
The living environment is not some kind of luxury bonus when we’re thinking about green projects. One of the problems with reducing things to their carbon impact is that we lose the more complex, nuanced truth of the real value in our landscape. Yes, in carbon terms you can just plant more trees, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that harm has been offset. Ancient woodland cannot be replaced.
We’ve played fast and loose with our ecosystems for too long. Anything that we can’t see an immediate use for, we treat as having little or no value. As we become more carbon aware, this may not improve things. How do you value an ancient oak, an owl or a curlew if you’re just calculating the carbon implications? It leads us to poor choices and to continue failing to understand that ecosystems are complex, delicate things. We treat a species as irrelevant at our peril.
A sustainable future means preserving as much wildness as we can. Sacrificing unique habitats for the sake of projects that claim to be green isn’t going to save us. Offsetting is often nonsense, and proposed offsetting plans seldom get close to recognising the harm done, much less mitigating successfully against it.
Find out more about HS2’s ancient woodland impact here – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/our-campaigns/hs2-rail-link/
Take action here – https://campaigns.woodlandtrust.org.uk/page/46290/action/1