THE chief of a wildlife trust has voiced her concerns about the effect the controversial HS2 rail scheme could have on the natural environment.
She said the high speed rail route could create corridors unable to support wildlife.
Liz Ballard, CEO of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said both possible route options for the controversial scheme — the now chosen so-called M18 route through Aston, Bramley, Mexborough and the Dearne valley, or the original proposed route via Meadowhall — would both have negative impacts on the natural environment.
Ms Ballard said the trust, which runs the Centenary Riverside reserve in Templeborough and Blackburn Meadows in Masbrough, as well as projects across Rotherham, said: “We are concerned with HS2.
“We ask what the impact on nature is with HS2.”
Ms Ballard said the route would create “sterile corridors” across the landscape as areas around the track would have to be kept clear and this would impact on the movement and habitats for wildlife.
She said that a mapping exercise assessed how many important nature sites would be sliced through by the rail line and both options had serious impacts.
Miss Ballard said: “From a wildlife point of view the Rotherham (M18) route is better than the previous (Meadowhall) route, but not massively better.
“The Meadowhall route did go through more ancient woodland.
“If this happens we have to get something from it for wildlife and the community as well, such as HS2 providing access to green space.”
Ms Ballard said that HS2 could be asked to open up green sites or redirect paths to nature spots as part of any development plan.
The Advertiser asked the Department for Transport for a statement, but a response was not received.