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HS2 Green Corridor

We’re creating a ‘green corridor’ alongside HS2, which will support local wildlife and communities, while integrating the railway into the landscape.

Animated video explaining the HS2 green corridor.

HS2 will create:

  • 9km2 of new woodlands featuring 7 million trees and shrubs – over double the amount affected by HS2
  • 4km2 of wildlife habitat – over 30% more habitat than HS2 affects

Alongside improving connectivity and boosting the economy, it’s crucial that HS2 manages its impact on the existing, natural environment.

We’re therefore taking the opportunity to create a network of new wildlife habitats, woodlands and community spaces, helping to leave a lasting legacy along the route.

As the corridor takes shape, there will be opportunities for local people to get involved. This includes the delivery of locally-led environmental projects, supported by HS2’s community funds.

What is a green corridor?

The green corridor will help to integrate HS2 into the landscape, with the design of the railway respecting its surroundings. It will include a network of habitats ranging from woodlands and meadows to wetlands and ponds. They will replace any habitats affected by the construction of HS2, while conserving and enhancing some too.

A balanced footprint

Inevitably, HS2 is going to leave a footprint on the British countryside. That’s something we want to carefully manage, while improving the environment where we can.

At a local level, new wildlife habitats ranging from badger setts to bat houses will support any animals affected by the construction of HS2. In many cases we’ll be able to leave behind bigger and better habitats than what’s already there. We’ll also have a responsible approach to natural resources, with most of the material we excavate for tunnels and cuttings being used as part of our earthworks. Ultimately, the green corridor should be able to support delicately balanced ecosystems running through the spine of the country.

Animated example of a badger habitat alongside the HS2 route.
Animated example of a badger habitat alongside the HS2 route.

Every location is unique

As we work towards this vision for the natural environment, we will go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.

Through tailored landscape design, we think the appearance of the corridor can reflect its surroundings and match the character of each unique location it touches. Involving local people can help us to get that right. Importantly, although we’re planting around 7 million new trees and shrubs on Phase One of the railway, we’re prioritising quality over quantity. Over 40 different species of tree are being grown in our nursery, including species that are native to each area.

A community-led project

We'd like to work with local communities on HS2's environmental activity. This includes the chance for local people to get involved in everything from landscape design to tree planting.

What next?

We are at the beginning of a long journey.

In 2017 we started work on our first new wildlife habitats for protected wildlife species. We also appointed our main works contractors and started the next stage of design for the railway. As our main civil engineering work progresses, so will our various landscape, habitat, and woodland creation initiatives.

Not only are we just in the early days of design and construction, we can only make the most of this opportunity with the future involvement of local people and environment groups. That work starts now.

For more information, including case studies of our green projects, we invite you to view our HS2 and the natural environment booklet which explains our work in more detail.