Will environmental concerns hold up HS2 progress?
As much as the dream of HS2 is touted as something positive, it seems the project will never be out of hot water. The latest is a report by environmentalist expressing concern about the destruction of protected natural biospheres and the sloppy attempt at current environmental assessments. At a glance this may seem unimportant, a stumbling block in the way of progress, but construction professionals shouldn’t be too quick to write it off. These concerns may indeed carry great significance.
Habitat loss has resulted in the extinction of more than 150 species is the past 100 years in Britain alone. Do any of us know what these species are? No. Does it make any difference to the economy or the industry? Yes, you’d be surprised by how. These are gene pools and critical elements of circular eco-systems that have been lost forever, creating an imbalance in nature. And it is the cumulative effects of all these imbalances over the past few decades that is now resulting in the climate crisis. Do you need to be reminded of the economic cost of flooding and extreme weather events?
A 2016 State of Nature Report found that one in ten species are faced with extinction, and the UK is one of the most nature depleted in the world. Now while this may not be a major concern for industrialists the next fact should: The report further stated that most of the UK has gone beyond the point where ecosystems can support society’s needs. Simply put, we’ve taken from the earth more than she can give, and we’re going to be the ones left starving.
So what’s to be done about HS2 and other major infrastructure projects? Should they be stopped due to environmental concerns? Do the promised economic benefits outweigh the environmental impacts and should they just be written off as a cost, regardless of the price? It’s a tricky question to answer, we’re in the business of building infrastructure after all, and with growing human populations, the demand for better infrastructure is growing too. So what could we be doing differently?
One approach could be for better collaboration, to work together with environmentalists rather than seeing them as an opposing force. To find solutions that limit destruction of habitats and instead stimulate their expansion and growth. Often solutions can be simple, but they’ll only be found if we work towards creating sustainable solutions.