Concerns for wildlife as HS2 workers cut down trees and hedges near Kenilworth

Residents living near where the HS2 line near Kenilworth will be built have expressed concern for wildlife as workers cut down trees and hedges in preparation for its construction.

Trees and hedges have been chopped down by HS2. Photo: Andrea Ball

The area, known as the ‘Crackley Gap’ near Crackley Lane and Coventry Road, is set to be heavily altered as a result of the line’s construction. And work appeared to start without warning this week.

Diggers turned up on site to start cutting down trees and hedgerows on the land.

But nearby residents said HS2 had not told them about the work, and HS2 had not uploaded anything suggesting work was about to start onto its Warwickshire website at the time of writing.

Construction vehicles working in the area. Photo: Andrea Ball

Nearby resident Andrea Ball was also very concerned about the impact on wildlife, as birds are currently nesting in the area. She also said the trees and hedges are a key part of the ecosystem.

She added: “There’s an abundance of bird life round there - but they (HS2) are taking out trees on a daily basis.

“No netting has been put down at all to protect the birds - there’s no evidence of that happening.

“They say they’ve got an ecologist working with them, but I’m concerned they’re breaking a number of wildlife rules.”

Tracks from construction vehicles can be seen. Photo: Andrea Ball

And Andrea was very critical of the apparent lack of communication from HS2 to nearby residents before the work started, claiming it showed a lack of respect.

She said: “We can’t stop it happening, but it needs to be done properly. It would have been nice if they (HS2) sent us a note explaining what’s going on.

“It’s really sad. A lot of people here are thankful for where they live. It’s something we cherish and we’re very proud of. But HS2 don’t seem to value it at all.”

In response to the work, Andrea’s friend and neighbour Sarah Blanks set up a Facebook group called ‘HS2 Watch Kenilworth’ for people to post photos and updates of HS2 activity in the area.

A spokesman for HS2 said: “As we deliver HS2, we’re very keen to respect the natural environment and improve conditions where we can.

“This includes working with ecological specialists to ensure no bird nests are disrupted by our work near Crackley Lane.

“We are also creating new wildlife habitats in the wider area, which will be part of an extensive ‘green corridor’ of woodlands, habitats and community spaces alongside the railway.

“All directly impacted people have been notified about HS2’s vegetation work in the area. We have also spoken to various local community groups.”

The spokesman also said all vegetation work during the bird nesting bird season is carried out with an ecological specialist on location who monitors the area before and during any work.

HS2 also said if active nests were to be found, work would stop immediately and the specialist would ensure the nest is protected.