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HS2 Rebellion disrupts UK’s Department for Transport to demand urgent action on the climate emergency and push the government to stop ecocide and stop HS2
- HS2 Rebellion protested the Department for Transport today as the government boasts formal start of construction of HS2
- Protestors doused the area in fake blood and sprayed the words “Smash HS2” on the walls of the Department of Transport, two protesters have glued onto the glass entrance door, with 4 people glued on to the floor. Activists chanted, “HS2 has blood on their hands. HS2 is Ecocide.”
- Their conscientious actions are calling for the government to stop HS2 and act now on the climate and ecological emergency
- The protest is part of the Extinction Rebellion two weeks of civil disobedience to demand the UK government responds to the crisis
Activists have spray painted the words “Smash HS2” and sprayed fake blood on the walls of the Department for Transport (DfT) to signify the government’s complicity in the climate crisis. Two people have glued onto the entrance door of the Dft, with four people glued to the ground. Activists chanted, “HS2 has blood on their hands. HS2 is Ecocide.”
Their actions are to draw urgent attention to the horrendous ecological cost of the High Speed 2 rail project at a time we are in a climate and ecological emergency (CEE) on the day the Government announced the formal start of HS2 construction. This deforestation project is ecocide.
The group from HS2 Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion and tree protectors, united in solidarity, took to the streets outside the Department for Transport (DfT) to stage the graphic and poignant action. It warns the government and the elite backing this project that if they continue to sanction this act of ecocide, they will have blood on their hands.
Tracey Mallaghan, 44, glued onto the Dft glass entrance door, said: “We know we are heading into a recession following covid. The allocation of over £100 billion to this vanity project to get rich Londoners to airports quicker is greedy, selfish and immoral. When you consider the damage being done to our country, it’s nothing less than reckless greed and must be stopped. We need laws in place to protect us from ecocide. Until then we have no process but civil disobedience to air our concerns, to try to protect our lands and children’s futures from those who think of nothing but their own wealth and power.”
Jim Knaggs, 32, HS2 Rebellion, glued to the entrance door said: “Being a veteran I never saw myself becoming an activist. But after finding out about the ecocide and how they were destroying Jones Hill Woods, my favourite authors’ woods, Roald Dahl was also a veteran. I looked a little more and realised that no one had voted for this £106 billion railway. In the forces we had certain values and standards. Anyone who’s served and they will tell you integrity is well, integral! Moreover, any lethal force that we may have been forced to take would have to be justified with the authority the line “I honestly thought there was an imminent threat to life”. Well, nothing has changed, I still have integrity and there is an imminent threat to life through the crime of ecocide constantly being committed by HS2. The law is not moral.I will be fully civilly disobedient until the threat to life stops!”
Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion co founder said:“This is an aviation shuttle service between London and Birmingham, favouring rich folks who are based around the capital and at a time when we need to protect nature, drastically lower carbon emissions and when our pattern of travel in the era of pandemic has changed for good. Why won’t the Government just admit the folly of this ridiculous project, cancel it and reinvest the money in a green economy and improving current rail and bus services for the whole of the UK?”
Gail Bradbrook took a similar stand at the Dft last October, when, inspired by suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, she hammered the window and was subsequently arrested.
Today’s action comes after a “Stop Ecocide, Stop HS2” Truth Telling Rally in Parliament Square where those affected by this project and those fighting it shared testimony of the destruction they have witnessed.
Sam Smithson of HS2 Rebellion, said: “The alarm bell moment has been and gone, and we have a very small window in which to act. We have three days until the chainsaws come wrecking Denham Country Park and other precious habitats. This is our moment to rebel and to protect life before it’s too late and the future for our children all goes into the chipper.”
The UK Government, in pressing ahead with HS2, fails yet again to take meaningful action on the climate and ecological emergency. The Department of Transport tasked HS2 Ltd to deliver the contentious high speed rail project, which will never be carbon-neutral over its 120-year projected lifetime, when they should be doing everything in their power to transition to a fully green economy.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, presented to Parliament this Tuesday, has been put off for a second reading until March 2021, an astonishing delay for something so urgent.
To follow that today and announce full speed ahead on the formal construction phase, this government has made it all too clear where its priorities lie, and that is not with the welfare and future of the people they are sworn to protect. In, proudly heralding a 20,000 job boost for Britain they omitted to mention the 19,590 jobs that HS2 will permanently displace 
HS2 is the most expensive and environmentally damaging infrastructure project in UK history, designed to support mass airport expansion. In light of a global health pandemic more people are working from home than ever and the country in economic dire straits, it is completely unnecessary, and must now be seen as the exploitative vanity project for the elite that it is.
HS2 already began significant felling in and around ancient woodland as part of the preparatory phase of the project. Wildlife Protection Camps stand strong along the line including at Denham Country Park, Hillingdon and Jones Hill Wood, Buckinghamshire but these and the nature they protect are under imminent threat as HS2 move in to take possession of more land at the sites.
Anti HS2 protesters are asking for people to join them at the camps to bear witness and protect ancient woodlands set for HS2 destruction this autumn. More information can be found at www.HS2rebellion.earth
Notes to Editors:
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In October 2018, the HS2 Phase 2b draft environmental statement stated that HS2 would permanently displ ace 19,590 jobs (Table 35, page is numbered 135, or 148/162 in the pdf) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/746554/HS2_Phase_2b_Working_Draft_ES_Volume_3_Route-wide_effects.pdf
Woodland trust list 20 woods due for translocation and destruction from 1 October – possession and felling ongoing
Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, Westminster, London SW1P 4DR
HS2 is set to destroy 108 ancient woodlands and almost 700 wildlife sites. As well as costing the UK tax payer well over £200 billion – as some MPs have reported – the high speed rail project is already causing extensive and irreversible damage to the environment and will be a vast new source of carbon emissions for at least the next 120 years, as well as enabling mass airport expansion.
The Government must scrap HS2 immediately, instead using the money to improve and invest in the NHS, and in local services and projects that adapt to the reality we face in this COVID-19 pandemic and Climate and Ecological Emergency.
HS2 Rebellion is an alliance of groups and individuals campaigning against HS2. Including but not exclusively :StopHS2, Save Cubbington Woods, Crackley Woods protection Camp, Denham Ford Protection Camp, Poors Piece conservation Project and XR. It is entirely distinct from Extinction Rebellion, but does form part of the Movement of Movements, alongside other sister groups like Wildlife Rebellion, Animal Rebellion and Global Justice Rebellion.
This people-powered campaign has been formed to stop the ongoing corruption, deceit and devastation of HS2 Ltd. Lives are being threatened, laws flouted and precious ecosystems are being destroyed while the country is suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We cannot stand by and watch this happen. As the NHS goes underfunded, money is being burnt and ancient trees are being torn down, we are rising up.
About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.