A DOZEN wildlife habitats around Sheffield could be put at risk by the planned high speed rail line, campaigners have warned.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust has examined the proposed route and says it could ‘destroy or damage’ areas of ecological importance.
Twelve sites, totalling 345 hectares, are affected including three ancient woodlands totalling 46 hectares – Smithy Wood, Hesley Wood and woodland at Hesley Tip.
Other sites affected are Rother Valley, Beighton to Holbrook; Holbrook Marsh; Woodhouse Washlands; Treeton Dyke; Tinsley Park golf course, woods and ponds; Sheffield and Tinsley Canal; River Don city centre to Blackburn Meadows; Blackburn Brook and Chapeltown Park.
Many other wildlife sites may also be touched during track construction, the trust has said.
Liz Ballard, chief executive of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “Our main concern is obviously for the wildlife.
“With so many areas potentially destroyed or damaged, our vision for a connected network for nature and all the work we’ve done over the last few decades towards this will be under threat.
“Local ancient woodlands and wildlife sites could be lost.”
She added: “With other charities we have encouraged the Government to form an ‘Environment Forum’ to share views.
“We encourage anyone who shares our concerns to add their voice.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said concerns about the route will be considered.