HS2 has vowed to deliver the biggest green corridor ever created for a UK infrastructure project, including a 23 sq km native woodland that will run alongside phase one of the £55.7bn rail line.
The rail client has unveiled plans for the green corridor as part of its More than a Railway report, which outlines HS2’s environmental plans for the line’s construction.
Pledges in the report include the 23 sq km “native woodland” as well as 3,300 ha of new and existing wildlife habitats along the route.
HS2 has said the green corridor, which will cover the majority of HS2’s phase one route from London to Birmingham, will “set new standards for how Britain and the rest of Europe builds major infrastructure projects”.
Woodland areas requiring the planting of more than seven million trees will be largely delivered by HS2’s enabling works contractors. This will be in addition to the 230,000 trees already planted during phase one construction.
Three joint ventures are delivering the £900m enabling works packages for phase one of the line: Skanska / Costain JV for the southern section; Morgan Sindall / Bam Nuttall / Ferrovial for the central package; and Murphy / Laing O’Rourke for the northern section.
In addition to the woodlands, the enabling works contractors will also be largely responsible for the creation of 33 sq km of new and existing wildlife habitat. These will range from the creation of new bat houses along the route to 226 new ponds for greater crested newts and other amphibians.
HS2 Green Corridor map
HS2 has also vowed to re-use 90 per cent of material excavated during the construction of phase one.
The client said the contractors delivering the multi-billion-pound civils works packages will be required to look at how to recycle the majority of material excavated during their works.
HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: “Alongside improving connectivity, boosting the economy and unlocking new jobs and opportunities, I’m determined to ensure that HS2 also works for the environment and local communities.
“This starts by doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint and minimise the expected impact of our construction work.
“Longer term, we’ll be leaving behind a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands, and community spaces, helping to create a lasting legacy along the route.”