HS2 are to build a lorry park on a key habitat of central London’s last remaining hedgehog population, threatening the survival of the group.
The House of Lords Select Committee this week ruled in favour of HS2’s proposal to take over ZSL London Zoo’s car park as a holding area for their lorries, HGVs and construction trucks for up to 20 years - despite expert ecologists and conservationists identifying the land as key habitat for the declining British species.
ZSL London Zoo led a petition to try and prevent HS2 from destroying the hedgehog’s last stronghold in central London, but the House of Lords Select Committee’s Special Report claims that the plight of the hedgehogs does not justify ‘what would be a major disruption to [HS2’s] plans’.
On behalf of ZSL London Zoo, Zoological Director, Professor David Field appealed to the Committee on Wednesday 14 September, calling on expert witnesses including hedgehog specialists and renowned ecologists.
Professor Field asked that HS2 find an alternative location for their lorry holding area; so as not to cause irreversible damage to the population of hedgehogs that live in the shrubbery borders of the Zoo’s car park.
Professor Field said: “We are incredibly disappointed by this ruling; the future survival of this population of hedgehogs has been unnecessarily compromised, at the expense of a lorry-holding area for which we believe there are better options available.
“We had hoped that the House of Lords Select Committee would recognise the severity of the threat posed by HS2 to the hedgehogs, and would help us to try and protect them.
“We still strongly believe that HS2’s plans pose a great risk to this vulnerable population, but in the face of this ruling, we will endeavour to do all we can to safeguard this iconic British species.”