SAVE WORMWOOD SCRUBS FROM HS2

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In December 2020 HS2 are set to commence a 4 year construction project diverting a sewer into the protected Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) of Wormwood Scrubs.

The proposed works will cause immeasurable devastation to the delicate ecology of this last piece of beautiful untouched wild meadow and woodland surrounded on all sides by high-rise developments and HS2 construction. It is the largest green space in the borough of Hammersmith  & Fulham and its big sky and meadows are a rare sanctuary for London (protected from development under the Metropolitan Open land act of 1879).

To quote HS2's own published research: "There is a combination of diverse habitats across Wormwood Scrubs that support a diverse range of native plants, breeding birds and insects, including species not usually found in more formal parks and open spaces. The site also supports a large population of common lizards and attracts a wide variety of migrant birds in spring and autumn. There are a number of legally protected animals, plants and fungi resident on the Scrubs.”

We understand that HS2 has been granted the powers to acquisition land under the HS2 Bill - however, this does not mean they are above the law. The terms of the HS2 bill stipulate that “HS2 must ensure that communities are properly informed and consulted and that the impacts of construction are minimised." - they have failed to do so and have deliberately withheld information regarding these plans until a month prior to commencement.

We request that Hammersmith & Fulham councillors Alexandra Saunders, Wesley Harcourt, Stephen Cowan and MP Andy Slaughter urgently intervene on behalf of constituents to seek the following action:

1. Force HS2 to Publish recent (independently conducted) environmental & biodiversity surveys prior to the commencement of ANY work. These surveys need to document in detail the many diverse and protected species of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects who rely on this land as a sanctuary and breeding ground. As well detailing a plan for rehoming protected species during the work and ensuring the careful reinstating of those species and their breeding habitats upon completion.


2. HS2 intend to build a fenced off access road across the scrubs from a site entrance on Braybrook Street which will effectively cut the wildest part of the scrubs in half from north to south. This route requires the needless destruction of LNR areas in the south west corner adjacent to Braybrook Street and removal of vehicle width restrictions on Wulfstan Street, and expensive modification of roads in order to give HGVs access to the Old Oak & Wormholt Conservation area. There is no justification for this route. There is already an existing concrete site access point (also included in the planning application submitted to the OPDC) into the scrubs directly off the non-residential section of Old Oak Common Lane - building the access road from this point instead and simply turning left onto the existing path on the scrubs would require ZERO destruction of LNR areas and significantly reduce the impact that 4 years of HGV traffic & doorstep construction site will have on the residents of Braybrook Street, whilst still meeting site access requirements. 

 - Hammersmith & Fulham council have the power to “Require HS2 to use the alternative access route on Old Oak Common Lane instead of Braybrook Street” as per the terms of the original sewer works agreement between the Secretary of State for Transport and Hammersmith & Fulham council (See paragraph 3.1). But in order to do so you need to act fast.

HS2 have failed to provide any reason for choosing to build the access road from Braybrook Street through the Nature Reserve instead of using the existing concrete route off Old Oak Common Lane - claiming simply that ‘They don’t know the history of the plans’ and attempting to defer responsibility for the decision to Hammersmith & Fulham council. Claiming ignorance is simply not good enough.

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham have declared a climate emergency and are intending to become the Greenest Borough in Britain - but permitting the needless destruction of hugely valuable local nature reserves and allowing 24hr HGV construction traffic to enter a residential conservation area (when an a more affordable and environmentally conscious alternative route already exists) is not in line with this promise.

We strongly urge and implore you, therefore, to take action to safeguard the Wormwood Scrubs nature reserve and valuable biodiversity of this beautiful green space that you, as elected representatives, have been tasked with protecting.