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High Speed 2: NFC Position Statement

Wednesday, 20th February 2013

National Forest Sign

The National Forest Company (NFC) is concerned about the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of HS2 on The National Forest.  In particular:

-       the loss of woodland and other wildlife habitats (currently identified as 70ha, based upon a 100m wide working corridor either side of the route) and the loss of public access land.

-       the effect this will have upon the NFC managing existing woodland creation contracts with those landowners affected.

-       the effects upon the River Mease Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

-       the impact upon the proposed re-watering of the Ashby canal at Measham, as the route may blight proposed housing development which was earmarked to contribute funding towards site works for the canal.

-       the effect upon archaeological/heritage features.

-       the impact of the route in further severing east-west connectivity of woodland, wildlife habitats and recreational access across The National Forest.

-       the potential economic impact - upon tourism and the appeal of the area as a visitor destination; and blighting of future development, including improvements to the A42.

-       the social impact upon local communities and landowners directly affected by the plans.

If the route has to come through The National Forest, the NFC considers that less environmental and landscape impact would potentially be caused by running it parallel to the A42, rather than along other possible alignments.

The NFC will engage fully with the consultation process to determine and plan the final route. In particular it will:

 -       seek specific consideration of how the proposal will affect The National Forest within the Environmental Impact Assessment that will be required for the development.

-       seek to minimise the environmental impacts of the development.

-       look to secure replacement woodland and wildlife habitat creation for habitats lost.

-       look to secure off-site woodland planting to mitigate the landscape impact of the route, in so far as it affects the wider setting of the Forest area.

-       look to secure compensatory works and/or funding to offset impacts on other environmental features (eg: the River Mease SAC and the proposed Ashby canal) and to offset severance impacts (e.g. by including land bridges to re-connect wildlife habitats and public access bridges for cross-Forest trails).

-       seek to incorporate innovative, sustainable design solutions through planning of the route’s construction.