CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Chris Packham plans ‘forest’ for Euston in protest at HS2

Wildlife show presenter wants to lay down dozens of pots with trees and plants across the station concourse on September 28.

19 September, 2019 — By Tom Foot

REALLY Wild Show host Chris Packham is calling on environmentalists to help him “build a forest” on the Euston Station concourse in protest against HS2.

The naturalist and TV presenter, who hosts the BBC show Springwatch, said bosses of the £80-100billion scheme needed to be “brought back down to Earth”. He wants to lay down dozens of pots with trees and plants across the station concourse from 1pm on September 28.

Mr Packham told the New Journal the “climate and environment emergency” was “the most important issue on planet Earth right now”, adding: “And this means we need to change our minds and our habits. And not continue to damage the natural world. That’s why we want to peacefully build a temporary forest in Euston Station. We don’t want to disturb, disrupt or delay anyone. We just want to converse and explain why HS2 needs to be brought down to Earth, so please come along. Bring a tree and share your love and respect for the UK’s wildlife and countryside and politely ask everyone to reconsider this extremely damaging project.”

Protesters in Euston last month

Mr Packham called the demonstration because ancient woodlands are due to be bulldozed as part of the railway works between Birmingham and London. The government this week called a temporary pause to the woodland clearances while an independent review is taking place. It is expected to reach its conclusions in mid-October.

But the review – which is looking at reducing the scale of the Euston works or potentially scrapping the Euston section of the scheme – has not led to a pause in demolition of housing blocks on the Regent’s Park estate, which were still being pulled down this week.

Leader of the Conservatives Cllr Oliver Cooper said: “It is great news that all works that affect ancient woodlands are halted until the review concludes and the decision made. “But all preparatory works, including in Camden, should be immediately halted as well. Given it looks likely HS2 is scrapped, it makes no sense to inflict yet more misery on local residents, and spend yet more billions of taxpayers’ money, while we wait for the good news that it’s finally hit the buffers.”

Joe Rukin

Meanwhile, Stop HS2 campaign chief Joe Rukin arrived at Euston on Monday after a 30-day walk from Birmingham with his dog. He said he had been walking 12 miles a day and that his ankles and knees were holding up well. He said: “I have walked the entire route – started in Birmingham, went to Leeds, went to Manchester, and I’m working my way down, and I’m now about a mile from the towers [Ampthill in the distance]. Now I’m going to have a pint at the Euston Tap.”

Speaking about the HS2 review, he added: “What is clear is that over the years a procession of ministers and governments have un­questionably backed HS2 100 per cent. “Now we have a transport minister saying, ‘we’re not sure, we might go ahead, we might not’. “The review is potentially there for electoral purposes. But HS2 is going to be the scandal that keeps on giving. “This is the danger [for PM Boris Johnson]: do you want more and more scandal throughout your premiership about this vainglorious project?”

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