HS2 – Conserve, protect and enhance
HS2 will connect almost half of the UK’s population with a high-speed rail network. This will be the biggest infrastructure project of its kind in Europe, so, naturally, it attracts concerns about its environmental impact. To this end, HS2 Ltd’s ambition is to build the most sustainable high-speed railway of its kind in the world.
RSK director Adrian Marsh explained about the services RSK delivered for this £55.7-billion project: “RSK has been a major subconsultant to the Environmental Resources Management–Temple Group–Mott MacDonald consortium. We have undertaken environmental impact assessments and supported the passage of the hybrid bill through Parliament.
RSK experts undertook ecological surveys, including protected species assessments. They provided the landscape design and visual impact assessment of a mostly rural section of the Phase 1 route. For Phase 2, an RSK–Temple consortium was appointed for stakeholder and consultation events and the appraisal of sustainability on route, station and depot options,” concluded Marsh.
Using input from all the project’s environmental impact assessments, the proposal will create a green corridor that will integrate the railway into the landscape, thereby conserving, protecting and enhancing habitats affected by HS2. In Phase 1, almost half the track will be built below surface level, up to 7 million trees and shrubs will be planted and 12 new breeding ponds for greater crested newts will be created.