HS2

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plodder
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:38 pm

And here's a superb thread on carbon accounting for HS2: https://mobile.twitter.com/dpeilow/stat ... 8039778305

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Re: HS2

Post by tenchboy » Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:40 pm

The pictures lower down in some of these twitter links, of someone in orange kit planting loads of trees about four foot apart.
What's the point of that?
They would need thinning to one in ten if not one in twenty as they grow and that is only to grow a plantation: any mature oaks or beeches would need 22 yards (yes, a chain) between them (ie ten per acre) to prosper; any 'understory' (cornus, elder, hazel) could be planted as close as 5 1/2 yards (uhuh, rod pole or perch) (160 per acre)* otherwise they really are just 'planting trees'. And they must know that they will not grow and they must also know that they are not planting a woodland: they are planting trees just to be able to say, "look, we are planting trees" and nothing more.
Trees planted this close together will never flourish, they will never have room to grow and prosper; besides the fact that the space in between the trees is as important as the trees themselves, these three foot saplings will grow into thirty foot saplings - a tall stick with a bit of leaf up top - they will create a continuous canopy through which the summer light will be unable to reach the ground and so there will be no ground layer nor shrub layer; all you will have will be a plantation of sticks in a field and it will be every bit as sterile as a conifer plantation. No one would want to visit: why would you?
So if they are just planting millions of trees to meet some target, well, that's what they're doing, I'll say no more; but if they are claiming to be replacing lost woodland with new woodland (aside from the fact that you can't do that, as written of earlier) then they are relying on the fact that not many people know very much about woodlands to be able to take them to task on that claim.
Also the term 'mature' woodland would/might be a better term than 'ancient' woodland. 'Ancient' woodland is more emotional but is a 'reserved term' and most/much/some (hell I don't know) of what is being cut probably doesn't qualify.

*I once walked through some woodland in what had once been an old Sussex Park, I noticed how there was plenty of space in between the trees, stopped, looked again, paced it out, yep, the oaks were circa 20 yards apart with three to four hazel clumps in between: classic Oak Standards With Hazel Understory (deschampsia sanicle dogs mercury intermittant) very nice to find.

Afterthought. Even if they are just 'planting trees' to meet a target, to 'green up', to 'carbon bank' or whatever; they would still be better off planting fewer trees, further apart because one individual tree with a full crown will (most likely, I think, I han't done a test, I have no data) have a greater leafage (more expansive and greater 'thickness too, not just at the surface) than the measly little bit of leaf you would get atop all the sticks taking up the same amount of space. With the added bonus too that they will host all the birds insects snails beetles worms centipedes devils coachmen stag-beetles honey suckle orchids (sanicle and dogs mercury) bramble wood sage mushrooms mosses lichens and god knows what else that you get in a woodland.

But this just seems like tick-boxing: planted n million trees: tick.

eta an n

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:19 pm

I can assure you that there has been loads of technical ecological input into the new habitats. No idea if you’re right or not, but they’ve been designed with significant input from Natural England.

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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:30 pm

plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:06 am
I think it is, yes. HS2 have been working with Natural England (the environmental regulator) throughout, and the project has planning consent including huge amounts of mitigation.
I think everyone knows the project has permission to go ahead, so I'm not sure why you're reminding me as if it's a counter-argument? That's literally what people are annoyed about.
plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:06 am
huge amounts of mitigation.
Some people are concerned that HS2 is doing "huge amounts" of damage. Others point out that its doing "huge amounts" of mitigation and (mostly) compensation. HS2 is a huge project, so both groups are correct - lots of damage, and lots of mitigation/compensation.

However, if we compare the damage with the compensation, we can see which is huger. To quote from the executive summary of HS2's report:
The overall number of biodiversity units for the area-based aspects, which are the largest component of the calculation, currently indicate approximately a 3% reduction in the number of biodiversity units post-construction. However, there is a significant loss for hedgerows (about 21%) and a net gain for watercourses (6%).
So, a net loss of biodiversity. The National Planning Policy Framework "The National Planning Policy Framework encourages net gains for biodiversity to be sought through planning policies and decisions." To reiterate my point above, I think it's bad that HS2 isn't meeting the biodiversity recommendations of the NPPF. Do you disagree?

Natural England have criticised HS2's accounting, reckoning that it underestimates losses of irreplaceable habitat like ancient woodland. They agree with me:
It is recommended that for Phase 2 the metric should be applied for the purpose of meeting a net gain objective, in order to fully accord with national policy, rather than simply aiming to achieve NNL.
We both know that Natural England, like many other regulators, have had their budgets slashed to the bone. They're not uncritical of HS2's habitat works, but would they actually have the political power to hold the project up while the compensation is improved?
plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:06 am
£27bn is in the budget for road building over the next few years, which will be spent well before hs2 is completed - let’s be generous and say it opens in about 15 years (slightly behind schedule). If the road spending is maintained these are similar orders of magnitude of cost.
As I said above, road-building is worse. Protesting against HS2's inadequate compensation measures should make it harder for road-builders to do the same, not easier.
plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:06 am
You are still using silly, pejorative language for a project that is wholly necessary to decarbonise our country.
Where? Not in my previous post, but you still didn't engage with any of the arguments in it. I keep saying I think the idea behind the project is a reasonable one, and that my issue is with the inadequate compensation, so maybe stop replying as if you think I said it should be cancelled.
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:46 pm

plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:09 am
This thread is also worth a look, on the “destroyed” ancient woodlands.

https://mobile.twitter.com/Greens4HS2/s ... 6514370560
First up - no, 108 ancient woodlands are NOT being "destroyed" by HS2. The source for that, the Wildlife Trusts' report (https://wildlifetrusts.org/sites/defaul ... tal2_0.pdf) has listed all the woodlands in a 1-km wide strip around the railway, whether it actually crosses them or not. /3

Saying that all these woodlands are being "destroyed" is spin. We should expect better from such a source. /4
Those quotation marks imply that the Wildlife Trusts' report uses the word "destroyed".

Let's see what they actually say:
HS2 will result in the loss of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodlands, veteran trees, wood pasture, old meadows, mires and wetlands. A total of 108 ancient woodlands are known to be threatened with loss or damage under current plans. Many other important wildlife habitats will be negatively impacted by the construction of HS2 and will not recover their existing biodiversity value, under the timescales used in HS2’s calculations.
So, not "destroyed" then.

They take the figure from a Woodlands Trust report for phases 1 and 2, which says:
Phase 1 of HS2 will link London and Birmingham. 32 ancient woods will be directly affected. A further 29 will suffer secondary effects such as disturbance, noise and pollution.
And give similar figures for the next phases.

So it's not clear who (if anyone) has said 108 ancient woodlands will be "destroyed" - but it doesn't seem to be any of the major NGOs. The thread is apparently arguing with a strawman.

It would be more interesting to read arguments about why net biodiversity loss should be accepted by conservation NGOs, but nobody seems interested in engaging with the actual arguments sensible people are making. Much easier to pretend that critics think HS2 should be completely cancelled than address the more complex issues around connectivity and offsetting.
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:57 pm

plodder wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:38 pm
And here's a superb thread on carbon accounting for HS2: https://mobile.twitter.com/dpeilow/stat ... 8039778305
That is interesting. I had heard that the carbon accounting used pessimistic scenarios, but that does sound a bit absurd. Why hasn't adequate carbon modelling been done yet?

A huge part of the raison d'être for this scheme is decarbonisation, but nobody's bothered to demonstrate it numerically during the whole project lifetime? You've gotta admit that's a bit silly. At the very least they could have released a range of forecasts, like the IPCC do, rather than publishing a single definitely-unrealistic scenario and then having to say "ah but those numbers are actually definitely wrong and it'll be much better than that really".

I'd also like to see more joined-up policymaking around this. e.g., why not phase in a modal shift legislatively, by banning short-haul flights as different stages are opened up? (Obviously excluding stuff like air ambulances) Not a criticsm of HS2 specifically, but another area where the government could help to make the case with policies that complement each other.
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:03 pm

tenchboy wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:40 pm
The pictures lower down in some of these twitter links, of someone in orange kit planting loads of trees about four foot apart.
What's the point of that? <snip>
My understanding is that the tree-planting compensation is being delivered by area rather than number of trees, so I don't think there'd be any impetus to try to game the metrics quite like that.

OTOH, as noted above a lot of the planting is being delivered via Forestry Commission grant schemes to private landowners to establish plantations of native species. One wonders how many of them are intended to still be there in 50 years.


I grew up near the Twyford Down cutting, which was apparently a huge hoo-hah (before I was born). One of the areas of "compensatory" habitat at Oliver's Battery is a park-and-ride car park now. Unless all the compensatory habitat gets the same designation as the stuff it's meant to be replacing I can't see how its persistence would be legally enforceable (especially on private land).

I'm not a tree-ologist, but I do see a lot of qualms from conservationists about a lot of current tree-planting schemes. A lot of it seems to be commercial forestry with a bit of green spin. It's especially galling when it happens on e.g. unimproved pasture sites with high biodiversity value in their own right.
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Re: HS2

Post by bolo » Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:25 pm

I heard a good (but sad) podcast not long ago about a tree planting "carbon offset" scheme in Scotland that converted a peat bog to a tree plantation, releasing far more CO2 from centuries of accumulated peat than the trees will ever take up.

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Re: HS2

Post by Fishnut » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:26 pm

bolo wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:25 pm
I heard a good (but sad) podcast not long ago about a tree planting "carbon offset" scheme in Scotland that converted a peat bog to a tree plantation, releasing far more CO2 from centuries of accumulated peat than the trees will ever take up.
Oh god no! Why???
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: HS2

Post by Fishnut » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:29 pm

I haven't read beyond the abstract yet but this looks like a good (open access) paper on how to reforest in an ecologically sound way: Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimize carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: HS2

Post by jaap » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:39 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:26 pm
bolo wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:25 pm
I heard a good (but sad) podcast not long ago about a tree planting "carbon offset" scheme in Scotland that converted a peat bog to a tree plantation, releasing far more CO2 from centuries of accumulated peat than the trees will ever take up.
Oh god no! Why???
99 Percent Invisible: For the love of peat

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Re: HS2

Post by Fishnut » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:51 pm

jaap wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:39 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:26 pm
bolo wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:25 pm
I heard a good (but sad) podcast not long ago about a tree planting "carbon offset" scheme in Scotland that converted a peat bog to a tree plantation, releasing far more CO2 from centuries of accumulated peat than the trees will ever take up.
Oh god no! Why???
99 Percent Invisible: For the love of peat
Thanks :) Downloading now
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Re: HS2

Post by basementer » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:54 pm

jaap wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:39 pm
99 Percent Invisible: For the love of peat
Featuring Forrest Fleischman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota.
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Re: HS2

Post by bolo » Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:06 pm

Yes, that's the one, thanks Jaap. And thanks also Basementer, I had missed that name when I listened to it. Ha!

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Re: HS2

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:05 am

plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:23 pm
Rail is inherently more energy efficient than cars, regardless of where the energy comes from.
Not at all. If it doesn't go where I need to get to then its energy is useless to me, and if a rail service runs where people don't use it it can waste quite a lot of energy.
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:24 am

plodder wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:38 pm
And here's a superb thread on carbon accounting for HS2: https://mobile.twitter.com/dpeilow/stat ... 8039778305
It's very well researched but good god why is it a
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:24 am

run on thread and not in a long form article for f.cks sake. Put it in
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:25 am

a blog for the love of God, and at least finish your sentences rather than running on
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:25 am

mid-sentence from tweet to tweet. /END
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:26 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:05 am
plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:23 pm
Rail is inherently more energy efficient than cars, regardless of where the energy comes from.
Not at all. If it doesn't go where I need to get to then its energy is useless to me, and if a rail service runs where people don't use it it can waste quite a lot of energy.
The vast majority of journeys are inter-City. HTH.
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:28 am

That said, there was that brilliant complaint in the old place where someone was f.cking outraged that the 19th century railway moguls hadn't built a dedicated railway from Swansea to Newcastle, and had instead focused on building lines elsewhere.
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:40 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:46 pm
So it's not clear who (if anyone) has said 108 ancient woodlands will be "destroyed" - but it doesn't seem to be any of the major NGOs. The thread is apparently arguing with a strawman.
It is certainly a claim being made by people out there - not least the group of protesters currently boldly preventing the extension of HS2 from Euston towards the River Thames. The Guardian has gleefully and repeatedly repeated it.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:48 pm

if you google "wildflife trust HS2 woodland destruction" you get eleventy zillion hits, all headlines where the wildlife trusts say things like "destroy or damage" like it's in that order.

There are impacts, but knickers have also been twisted right up.

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:49 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:26 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:05 am
plodder wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:23 pm
Rail is inherently more energy efficient than cars, regardless of where the energy comes from.
Not at all. If it doesn't go where I need to get to then its energy is useless to me, and if a rail service runs where people don't use it it can waste quite a lot of energy.
The vast majority of journeys are inter-City. HTH.
If the road does not go where you want it to, then it's a waste of a road, too. Who are you, some sort of Alice in Wonderland royalty?

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:52 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:26 pm
bolo wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:25 pm
I heard a good (but sad) podcast not long ago about a tree planting "carbon offset" scheme in Scotland that converted a peat bog to a tree plantation, releasing far more CO2 from centuries of accumulated peat than the trees will ever take up.
Oh god no! Why???
I think this was the Forestry Commission, and I think it was in the Lake District, and I think it's being reversed.

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