Press Release – for immediate release
- Following the UK government’s decision to scrap HS2 Phase 2 and commit £36 billion to new transport initiatives, environmental activists and community groups call for a strategy that is in sync with the nation’s climate commitments and net-zero objectives.
- The coalition emphasises the necessity of independent third-party environmental impact assessments and insists that future projects must be founded on principles of social and environmental justice to ensure fair benefits for all communities.
- Activists and affected residents demand a halt to damaging ‘land grabs’ that have resulted in the seizure of parks, nature reserves, and private properties. They call for the return of these lands for ecological restoration and rewilding.
Last week, as HS2 Phase 2 faces cancellation, a coalition of environmental activists and community groups, including renowned environmental activist Swampy (Dan Hooper), is coming together to emphasise the need to avoid the pitfalls of the past. They are calling for an end to what they describe as a “land grab” that has characterised the high-speed rail project, leading to the seizure of public parks, nature reserves, homes, and farms.
Caroline Thomson-Smith, a Buckinghamshire resident, expressed her concern: “We are still mourning the tremendous loss caused by HS2. It’s crucial for the government to return the land to its rightful owners, allowing us to rebuild our homes, farms, and restore nature. We must not repeat the same mistakes.”
Hazel Bell, a Staffordshire resident, added, “While the cancellation is long overdue but welcome, Staffordshire has already borne the brunt of damage. We hope that most of the land can be restored to its original state, mitigating the harm inflicted by HS2. Let’s learn from the past.”
Dan Hooper, widely known as Swampy, a veteran environmental activist, remarked, “HS2 was never an environmentally friendly project. It fell far short of being carbon-neutral and inflicted substantial biodiversity loss. The cancellation represents a victory for nature.”
Dr. Larch Maxey, an environmental activist who spent 27 days living in tunnels beneath Euston Square Gardens in 2021, emphasised the need to reclaim public spaces: “These gardens were intended for the people, but now they’re fenced off and buried under concrete. We demand the return of this land, alongside the cancellation of Phase 1 of HS2, to prevent further destruction and unnecessary expenses.”
As the government allocates £36 billion for transportation projects across the North and Midlands, these activists and local residents urge careful consideration of the environmental impact and the equitable distribution of benefits. Their message is clear: the mistakes of HS2 should not be repeated, and future investments must prioritise nature and serve the interests of everyone.
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