Protest group warns of legal action against HS2

Flickr: andrew evans

Protest groups have sent the government a letter warning them of a legal battle if the HS2 rail project goes ahead.

I certainly hope so.

The HS2 Action Alliance has sent Transport Secretary Justine Greening a formal letter warning that it will take legal action unless the planned rail link between London and Birmingham and beyond is not stopped. The non-profit organisation has given the transport secretary two weeks to abandon the project.

Last month the £33 billion high speed rail project was given the green light in its second stage from London to Birmingham, but campaigners against it say they’re concerned about the impact it will produce on the environment as a result.

On Monday, the alliance sent the letter accusing the government of failing to comply with legal requirements such as the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Regulations 2004 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

Of course, even though the challenge may be supported by over 70 local groups, four wildlife trusts, countryside organisations and residents’ associations, what chance is there that Justine Greening will suddenly be struck by a bolt of lighting and realise that the environmental damage will far outweigh such a small amount of benefit?

Unlikely, particularly when those in government are of the opinion that it will create jobs and prosperity across the country, linking those in the West Midlands and London in a quicker amount of time.

But, with the proposed running date set for 2026, with a further extension to the north of England later, it’s not the best way forward or use of money in what are austere times for many families. Not only that, but this project will force the country into further debt for generations to come.

So far, it’s not exactly painting the best picture when it comes to improving Britain’s future.

There is one man I could seriously kiss: the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Yes, I know, but after he gave his view on what he thinks of the HS2, I could. Fair enough he may be a “passionate supporter of HS2 in principle,” but, he explained there was no point in spending this much money on something that clearly doesn’t work properly. Hurray for sense!

He then went on to say: “Why not use the existing pollution corridor [the M1 or M40] rather than raping some of the loveliest countryside in England?” I knew there was a reason why I liked Boris.

Unfortunately, even though Boris Johnson may have spoken out along with countless others in addition to a letter being sent to Justine Greening, I’m pretty sure that as much opposition she faces, she won’t be changing her mind any time soon.

Potentially, this could see the start of a long legal battle with one side acting as the voice for the environment and the other for quicker cross-country commuting times in one of the most scenic areas in England.

I know which side I’d rather be on.


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