Over 1000 people turned out from all over the country this weekend [Sunday 29th December] to the Stand for the Trees event in the Denham Country Park. Naturalist Chris Packham led campaigners in a Walk for Wildlife and Water through the Colne Valley in an event jointly organised by Extinction Rebellion, Stop HS2 and Save the Colne Valley Wildlife Protection Group.
Photos and videos from the day can be found via this link.
The day was aimed at highlighting the fact that despite the fact there is currently a review of HS2 which could lead to the project being cancelled, the destruction continues unabated, not just around the Colne Valley, but along the entire 140 miles of Phase 1. The route meant walkers could see first hand the destruction that has already happened and the even more devastating loss of wildlife and habitats that would happen should HS2 go ahead. The event also highlighted the fact that HS2 potentially endangers the water supply of some 3.2 Million Affinity Water Customers and there has still been no published assessment of this risk.
The event was the latest in a number of collaborations between Stop HS2 and Extinction Rebellion, many of which have focussed on the Colne Valley Protection, which is one of four sites where campaigners have set up protection camps, with the intent of stopping HS2 Ltd from damaging habitats and the ecosystem, especially given that HS2 is not only under review, but has not received final ‘Notice to Proceed’.
Chris Packham, on behalf of the Rethink HS2 alliance of environmental organisations said:
“HS2 involves one of the largest deforestation programmes since the First World War, damaging more than 100 ancient woodlands along the planned route, along with dozens of wildlife habitats. If this project gets the go ahead, and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t for so many reasons, you can expect ferocious public opposition to it, and I will be happy to lead that from the environmental perspective.”
Sarah Green, founder of the Colne Valley HS2 Protection Camp said:
“People need to be made aware of the horrendous impact HS2 will have, especially on water supplies. If people knew what was actually happening, there would be an outcry as the chalk is prone to cracking and fissuring and working around historic landfills is a recipe for disaster. The work HS2 are conducting now must be halted.”
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager said:
“Even though there is currently a review that could lead to the cancellation of the project, the destruction continues relentlessly, and it is now clear that while HS2 Ltd want to continue with this wanton devastation, the HS2 project will face more and more direct action against it. HS2 has only got this far because it has been lobbied for by the construction industry, and the whims of these vested interest bodies cannot be prioritised against taking action to fight the climate emergency.”