Sheffield wildlife group’s environmental fears over high speed line

Restored former opencast land at Orgreave. Picture: David Hurst
Restored former opencast land at Orgreave. Picture: David Hurst
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PROPOSALS for the new high speed rail line have caused environmental concerns.

The National Trust plans to object to the proposed route, while Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said there are ‘an awful lot of sites it could impact upon’.

Pictured  is the Sheffield City Airport  from the air.

Pictured is the Sheffield City Airport from the air.

The line would run near wildlife habitats in South Yorkshire, and to the west of Hardwick Hall in North Derbyshire.

A cutting is proposed which would remove taxiways and former buildings at the old Sheffield City Airport, while the tracks are also set to run on a viaduct across the Don Valley at Meadowhall.

Liz Ballard, chief executive of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “At the moment we are still analysing the details of the route.

“There are an awful lot of sites it could impact upon. In Sheffield there are sites such as Orgreave where efforts are being made to recover wildlife after land has been restored.”

Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall

Peter Nixon, director of conservation at the National Trust, said: “We are opposed to the route for the high speed rail link where it impacts directly on Hardwick.

“Although opposed to the route, our intention is to engage as widely as possible, with the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd, as well as local and regional stakeholders and communities.”

Chesterfield Canal Trust say they have ‘yet to adopt’ a view on the planned line, which would cross the waterway at several points.

The trust hopes it could bring funding to help restoration work.

Supporters of the campaign to reopen Sheffield City Airport are hopeful their plans will not be derailed.

Andrew Cook, of William Cook holdings steel firm, said: “The line can always be re-routed or a bridge for the runway over the cutting.”

The viaduct across the Lower Don Valley at Meadowhall will cross the Firth Rixson works and neighbouring Chesterfield Special Cylinders site.

John Hayward, Chesterfield’s chief executive, said: “We are keeping an open mind on how we will be affected although I welcome the line coming to Sheffield.”

Few homes will be affected, with the line south of Sheffield on disused railway land, and tunnels under Hoyland and Ardsley, near Barnsley.

MPs on the proposed route including Michael Dugher in Barnsley East and Clive Betts, who represents Sheffield South East, say they want to ensure a ‘fair consultation process’.

■ View the route at Department for Transport

What do you think about the high speed rail link plans?