THE extra thousands needed to fight the controversial HS2 plans have prompted Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to launch a fund-raising appeal to help cover the costs.
The Wolseley Bridge charity estimates protecting wildlife against the proposed high speed rail route in Staffordshire will total £17,500 this year.
The charity will have to pay for extra staff time, legal fees and extra habitat surveys.
Kate Dewey planning and conservation officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust said: "Dealing with HS2 alone is a mammoth task, let alone on top of analysing the high number of major planning applications we regularly receive from across the county. Every hour we spend on HS2 is an hour less we can spend ensuring wildlife gets a fair deal elsewhere in the county.
"At this time of unprecedented wildlife crisis, we urgently need people to donate to our HS2 appeal, so we can act as the voice for wildlife before it is too late."
The proposed phase one and phase two routes will pass 46 miles through Stafford Borough, as well as neighbouring Lichfield and and Newcastle-under-Lyme boroughs, and could affect over 5,500 acres of land, 2,000 acres larger than all Staffordshire Wildlife Trust's nature reserves combined. A total of 27 wildlife sites will be directly affected.
Donations to the Trust's HS2 appeal can be made online at www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/hs2,
via phone on 01889 880100, by texting WILD27 £5/ £10 to 70070 or by sending a cheque payable to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust HS2 Appeal, The Wolseley Centre, Wolseley Bridge, Stafford, ST17 0WT.