High Speed 2 Railway Line: Buckinghamshire

Department for Transport written question – answered on 22nd October 2021.

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Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat, Chesham and Amersham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to help prevent (a) decline and (b) extinction of the Barbastelle Bat at (i) Leather Lane, (ii) Bowood Lane and (iii) Jones Hill Wood.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Secretary of State and HS2 Ltd take the preservation and enhancement of all bat species and populations associated with the project very seriously.

HS2 Ltd’s strategy for the preservation and enhancement of bats in this area adopts a precautionary approach as to the presence of a Barbastelle population at these locations. That strategy, overseen by experienced ecologists, is to enhance linkages between woodlands and other habitats to provide connectivity and additional foraging areas for bats.

Works will include new species-rich woodland planting, hedgerow creation, the strengthening of existing hedgerows, and the translocation and reuse of ancient woodland soils. Planting will also be placed alongside the top of the cutting associated with this area to direct bat flight lines towards crossing points at Wendover Dean Viaduct. Prior to works, mitigation measures include the erection of bat boxes ahead of tree felling to ensure there is continuous availability of roosting features.

The provision of habitat and the creation of links at this scale will significantly increase the amount of foraging and commuting habitat available to local bat communities in this area.

The landscape and ecological design for this stretch of route is still being developed. When finalised, the proposals will be submitted to Buckinghamshire Council to support the local planning application for this area under Schedule 17 of the Phase One Act.

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