Extinction Rebellion erect HS2 protest banner on multi-storey car park in Berkhamsted

A programme of tree planting and habitat creation alongside the new railway is being delivered by HS2
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Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Dacorum dropped a banner in protest against HS2 - the high speed railway linking London, the Midlands, the North and the South - on Monday.

The group lowered a banner against the backdrop of the green wall on the multi-storey car park in Berkhamsted, with the message 'NHS not HS2 and STOP HS2'.

A XR Dacorum spokesman said: "We are just some of many concerned citizens calling on the government to abandon a hugely expensive project that is destroying many ancient woodlands and sites of Special Scientific Interest and biodiversity.

HS2 banner drop in BerkhamstedHS2 banner drop in Berkhamsted
HS2 banner drop in Berkhamsted

"In a climate emergency, infrastructure projects should meet the net zero 2050 target, yet @HS2ltd has admitted the project will not be carbon neutral for over 100 years.

"Wildlife are losing their habitats. This reckless project is a mistake. It is quite simply ecocide."

HS2 says only 43 ancient woodlands will be affected by HS2’s route between London and Crewe (Phase One and 2a), 80% of the total area of the 43 ancient woodlands will remain intact and untouched by HS2. There are 52,000 ancient woodland sites in England.

Over 33 square kilometres of new woodland and wildlife habitats being created as part of HS2's plan to create a Green Corridor of richer, more diverse and better-connected landscapes along the railway.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: “All leading environmental organisations agree that climate change is the biggest future threat to wildlife and habitats in the UK.

"By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s push to reduce carbon emissions.

"HS2 has been approved by Parliament on multiple occasions and the project is already playing a pivotal role in helping Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

"There are 15,000 people already working on the project and we recently announced a further 22,000 jobs across the country at a time when it needs them most.”

HS2 Ltd are delivering a programme of tree planting and habitat creation alongside the new railway – with up to seven million new trees and shrubs set to be planted between London and Birmingham alone.