Call for new reserves to offset train line damage

A Hitachi Class 395 Javelin train
A Hitachi Class 395 Javelin train
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ONE of Wigan’s finest wildlife havens will be damaged by the High Speed Two (HS2) train line and new reserves should be built, conservationists say.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) is concerned around numerous aspects of the construction and operation of the super-fast HS2 route close to Lightshaw Meadows, including lighting, noise and cutting off access to other surrounding green spaces.

The route will pass right along the boundary of the wetland site, part of a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and home to a host of rare birds and mammals, and there will also be a marshalling yard situated nearby.

In the most detailed report into the likely effect of the 200mph line on wildlife habitats published so far, the Wildlife Trusts call for the creation of a 15,000-hectare green network to replace lost or damaged sites.

LWT advocacy officer David Dunlop said: “Lightshaw Meadows is a haven for ground-nesting birds, breeding birds of fen and reed swamp and breeding birds of willow scrub.

“We believe the railway corridor would create such disturbance by lighting and irregular noise and visual disturbance during construction and operation that the nationally-declining breeding bird communities would be diminished or lost from the sites. The likelihood of overhead power lines along all of the sidings would compound the risk. The volume of traffic accessing the proposed marshalling yard, plus the through trains, would also impact negatively on the experience of visitors to our nature reserve and our volunteers working on it.

“It would create a 24-hour industrialised atmosphere, contrasting with the locale’s current semi-rural ambience.”