TOP anglers have joined the chorus of complaints about the environmental impact of the controversial HS2 railway project.
Conceived over a decade ago, HS2 has been seen as a way of speeding up the time it takes to travel from London to the North of England.
Its budget was originally set at £32.7 billion, but that has now spiralled to a staggering £106 billion, according to some estimates.
Concern about the financial and environmental costs resulted in the scheme being put under review in August 2019.
The outcome of the review of the controversial project was delayed by December 2019’s general election.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced early in February 2020 that HS2 will be built.
The route’s first phase will travel between London and Birmingham, with a second phase going to Manchester and Leeds.
“It has been a controversial and difficult decision,” admitted Boris.
Anglers have joined conservation groups in voicing their concerns about what the new rail link will mean for the environment.
Big fish ace speaks up for venues
Big fish ace and Korda’s TV production and project manager Gary Newman has been amongst leading anglers having their say.
He told Angler’s Mail: “I have fished many of the Colne Valley lakes over the past 25 years or more, but now some of those waters are going to be lost to fishing, either temporarily while work is being done, or even permanently in some cases.
“That includes the British Carp Study Group’s Korda Lake, which has been the best big tench water in the country, as well as being home to carp to well over 40 lb.
“I’ve spent a lot of my time on the lake in recent years, and the planned route goes straight through the middle of it.
“As it stands, not only will HS2 ruin the fishing on numerous lakes, but it will also be an eyesore in a beautiful area of countryside, not forgetting to mention the damage it will do to wildlife, some of which is rare, and habitat in the area, such as ancient woodland.
“I’m not sure how many lakes will be affected by it nationally, but it will be quite a few, to varying degrees, but some will be completely lost to fishing,” added Gary, who has appeared recently in ITV4’s popular Fishing Allstars shows.
Impacts well beyond Colne Valley
Top angling author and wildlife photographer Dave Tipping, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said: “There has been much publicity about the potential impact of HS2 on the famous carp lakes of the Colne Valley, but other fisheries will be affected, too.
“I understand that Leeds DASA’s Sandwath Lake, at Church Fenton, West Yorkshire, is under threat. It’s a water that I have fished on and off for nearly 50 years.
“I caught my first 5 lb tench there, in 1977, when fish of that size were considered decent, even by national standards.
“It would break my heart to see Sandwath destroyed for the sake of shaving a few minutes off journey times between northern cities and London.
“Surely the way forward is to invest the billions of pounds earmarked for HS2 in the existing rail system, thereby improving transport infrastructure without destroying iconic fisheries and irreplaceable wildlife habitat,” Dave concluded.
HS2 rail plan will cause ‘destruction’
Martin Salter, head of policy at the Angling Trust, said:“HS2 as currently planned will cut a huge swathe of destruction through some of the most iconic venues in specialist angling.
“The Colne Valley lakes are a big part of fishing history, and the Angling Trust would like to see any review of the project take on board the concerns of the angling community.”
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