Posted by: lensweb | March 5, 2013

Some Thoughts on HS2 Long Eaton & Toton

I think we were all surprised at the announcement of a preferred route for HS2, a high speed railway which virtually bisected Long Eaton. Letters of compulsory purchase swiftly followed and it all seemed like a done deal with no consultation.

The new railway will go down what is currently a green wildlife corridor, following the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. In Derbyshire, 33 wildlife sites will be affected but the route seems to be the least worst option of potential routes, with least wildlife disturbance. There will be a bigger impact on Nottinghamshire.

It is possible the new railway will be a boon for the town of Long Eaton where industry has thrived from the beginning of the local rail network in the 1830s. At one time Toton Sidings was the largest marshalling yard in Europe and it makes sense for it to resume it’s role as a railway hub.

A full environmental impact assessment will have to be carried out. Environmental issues and wildlife concerns need to be considered at the initial planning stage with regard to sensitive continuance of habitats – hedges, trees, ponds and water courses, trails and wide foraging areas rather than blanket destruction.

There is talk of translocation of protected species but the best option would be to design their needs into the overall system. At Long Eaton we are used to a fenced rail track but if the intention is to fence the whole of the route, significant bridges and tunnels will be needed for east west movement of mammals and reptiles. It is hoped the maintenance of a green wildlife corridor and wildlife sites can be sustained and these are not incompatible with a railway.

The losers in this situation are the humans if they can longer access wild space.

Although Long Eaton as a town could be a winner in this situation, the shame is that local people say they will not be able to afford to travel on the new passenger railway and to move passengers up and down the country a bit faster than the current service (which could be upgraded at far less cost and traffic disruption) seems pointless compared with getting goods onto the trains and lorries off the roads or investing in industry.

It would be interesting to get other views.

Marion Bryce 05/03/12


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