Cross-party committee warns that 40% of the land earmarked for the high-speed rail line hasn't been surveyed for environmental impact.

Current plans for the UK’s second high-speed rail line, HS2, could be a conservation disaster, according to a report by a parliamentary committee.

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) submitted its report on 7 April, voicing concerns that the project needed tougher environmental safeguards to protect important habitats, ancient woodland and endangered species. The report also revealed that 40 per cent of the land that was earmarked for the proposed new line that will stretch between London and Birmingham had not yet been surveyed for environmental impact.

The report was welcomed by environmental and countryside organisations, who share many of the EAC’s concerns about the project, which is predicted to cost the taxpayer £50billion.

Countryside Alliance head of policy, Sarah Lee, said: “To justify this investment and the damage to lives and landscape, HS2 must offer exceptional benefits, and we do not believe the case for it has yet been proved.”