Page 19

evolutionsummer2013

Railways and biodiversity Habitats on railway embankments can provide important ecological functions for the environment. These functions include green corridors, especially within urban locations where natural habitats are limited and fragmented. In addition many railway habitats are part of locally designated sites for nature conservation. So preserving and, where possible, enhancing railway habitats and their ecological functions are important components of railway management. Thameslink Programme The Network Rail £4.6bn Thameslink Programme (TLP) (Network Rail, 2012) represents a major upgrade of existing rail Figure 1: Examples of the types of habitats along the Thameslink route infrastructure along one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway – the Thameslink Thameslink Programme route running from Bedford in the north and biodiversity to Brighton in the south through central The Thameslink route covers both urban London. The Thameslink Programme and rural localities. Sites range from depots (TLP) will transform the Thameslink route with little surrounding vegetation cover in a by providing more frequent, longer and heavily urbanised locality to scrub-covered new trains as well as major improvements railway embankments within Greater to three of the major stations in London: London to wooded land areas within the London Bridge, Farringdon and Blackfriars. countryside. With such a range of sites come a range of biodiversity considerations: The programme runs in two key stages: green corridors, ecological linking habitats Key Output 1 (KO1) started in 2006 and and protected species migration routes and involved the reconfiguration of Blackfriars sheltering habitats to name a few. and Farringdon station, construction of a new viaduct at Borough Market Protecting and enhancing and works to accommodate expanded Thameslink services outside London. KO1 biodiversity has successfully been completed with The TLP Sustainable Development Policy the introduction of 12 car operations in commits TLP to “protecting biodiversity December 2011 and the completion of the and seeking opportunities to enhance infrastructure required to run the new KO1 wildlife and habitats”. TLP procedures timetable in April 2012. The programme to protect biodiversity adhere to the is currently in Key Output 2 (KO2), which mitigation hierarchy of avoiding impacts involves the reconfiguration of London where possible, for example, by reducing Bridge Station, installation of a new dive the amount of vegetation clearance under at Bermondsey, remodelling of track required or relocating infrastructure layout and upgrading of signalling and power installation, mitigating to minimise impacts systems and the construction of depots and where these occur and, as a last resort, stabling site to house the TLP rolling stock. compensating for the unavoidable loss KO2 due for completion in December 2018 of biodiversity. will enable 24 trains per hour along the Thameslink core route. 17


evolutionsummer2013
To see the actual publication please follow the link above