Thank you for contacting me about HS2 and the environment.
On the recommendation of the independent Oakervee review commissioned last year, the Prime Minister has given the go ahead to HS2, alongside major improvements to local transport networks up and down the country.
HS2 will play an important role in the United Kingdom’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. I understand that HS2 will offer some of the lowest carbon emissions per passenger kilometre, seven times less than passenger cars and 17 times less than domestic air travel in 2030. HS2 is expected to help reduce the number of cars and lorries on the road and cut demand for domestic flights.
It is estimated that the total carbon emissions produced by both constructing and operating Phase One for 120 years would be the same as just one month of the United Kingdom's road network.
I chaired the HS2 Committee Bill that took evidence regarding the ancient woodlands and recommended further research be taken, as well as an increase in the allocation of funds for ancient woodlands. Furthermore, the term ancient woodlands also refers to the soil, not just the trees, in which the area has recently had species planted.
I am also pleased that a green corridor will be created alongside the railway. This will involve the planting of seven million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, along the Phase One route from London to the West Midlands.
It is also welcome that an overall £70 million funding package has been made available to enhance community facilities, improve access to the countryside, and help improve road and cycle safety in towns and villages along the HS2 Phase One route.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
James Duddridge MP
Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East