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HS2 Vegetation Clearance at Calvert – Steeple Claydon: meeting 27 February 4pm to 8pm Calvert Green Community Hall

The following email will be of interest to members of the society:

Many members will have heard that HS2 is about to start clearing a huge area of approx 200 hectares on which the maintenance depot will be built if HS2 actually goes ahead. This is approx 500 acres, 2 square kilometres or 200 Twickenham Stadiums.The Calvert Jubilee Reserve will also be affected by clearance of an approx 75 metre strip along the eastern side for an access road, precisely the area with the best nesting habitat, and in which turtle dove and nightingale have been recorded in recent years. The plan by Fusion acting for Keir and HS2 is total clearance of all vegetation including mature trees, bushes and an estimated 19 kilometres of hedgerow. This is a prime area for all the hairstreaks too. What happens here is likely to set the pattern for the massive clearance that will be associated soon with the new Expressway in the Growth Arc across Oxfordshire, Bucks and Bedfordshire, with its plan for one million new houses.

Please make your feelings known to the local MP john.bercow.mp@parliament.uk and the minister for HS2 nusrat.ghani.mp@parliament.uk and come to Calvert on 27 February.

Please ask:

Calvert to Steeple Claydon: What is the plan? What area is being cleared? What are you doing to preserve natural features like trees and streams? Why are you planning to do this as the bird nesting season is starting? Where are you going to provide replacement areas in mitigation?

Calvert Jubilee Reserve: is it just an access road up the east side of the existing railway? How wide? How long? Is it necessary when the main works are the other side of the railway? What happens after it is no longer needed? Why precisely as the nesting season starts – is this legal on a nature reserve?

What are you doing to minimise damage to orchid rich turf, mature trees and scrub that are essential for butterflies and birds including nightingale and turtle dove?

Has statutory public notice been given – where and when?

Needless to say, BBOWT is taking steps but needs your support. The Trust is fortified by a favourable judgement yesterday in its fight to have the Expressway route revisited as the developers (the government) disregarded the law in making their decision.

Richard Birch, BBOWT Chilterns Group. Tel 01296 624511