Sarah Lee, head of policy for the Countryside Alliance, comments on high speed rail:

“The Countryside Alliance remains gravely concerned that no significant evaluation of the impact of High Speed Rail 2 on the countryside, its communities and wildlife has been properly undertaken or acknowledged.

“While we welcome some of the concessions that have been made by the Government – including noise reduction measures and longer tunnels – we are dubious as to whether this will make any overall difference to the environmental impact of the rail line, which will still consume huge amounts of energy and damage many important sites for wildlife. Equally these last-minute changes, as with the route north of Birmingham, have also not been put forward for public consultation and therefore risk huge public and stakeholder backlash.

“The Alliance calls on the Government to undertake these assessments and consultations as a matter of urgency, before any further progression is made on this project.”