CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Chris Packham leads anti-HS2 protest outside Euston

Really Wild Show presenter said Camden life tough enough without trees and parks being bulldozed

28 September, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Earth Protector: Chris Packham outside Euston today 

NATURE expert Chris Packham said Camden was a “tough environment to live and work in” as he explained the impact of HS2 bulldozing trees and parks.

The Really Wild Show TV show presenter organised a protest against the Government-backed £80billion railway outside Euston station in Eversholt Street today (Saturday).

Mr Packham is campaigning to stop ancient woodlands in the countryside being destroyed, but he said urban trees are “equally important”.

He told the New Journal: “There used to be two parks here. I’ve been here plenty of times and you would see people sitting there. Now one of them is just tarmac. Many people come into these green areas to relax and it has a profound calming effect on them.

“This is a tough environment to live and work in. It’s crowded, bustling – there’s not a lot of space. That 20 minutes under a tree having as sandwich, watching someone else run their dog can be that point in the day when your mental health is enormously rewarded.

“London is quite fortunate to have a large amount off green space. This is not time to waste it, it’s a rich legacy, it’s not the time to start cutting it down.”

Euston Square Gardens and St James Gardens have been closed permanently because of HS2.

Around 150 people attended with some bringing pot plants to create a ‘forest’ 

Mr Packham, who has worked with nature and campaigned on environmental issues all his life, said he had only just recently discovered how trees boost humans’ chances of survival.

He told the New Journal: “I’m going to give you a little gem here. I learned relatively recently that trees produce certain substances in their leaves that go into the atmosphere. When we inhale them they enhance killer cells in our immune system. These are the things that fight against viruses, and cancers. So when we talk about trees as health-giving organisms, it’s not just an aesthetic or a mental health thing – it’s physiological thing too.”

Dozens of mature trees have already been cut down in Camden because of HS2 demolition works around Euston station.

HS2 has said it will aim to replant trees to make up for ones cut down because of the long-running construction project that is not expected to be finished in Euston by 2031.

The Woodland Trust, Extinction Rebellion (XR) and the Stop HS2 campaign group attended the protest. Chairman of Stop Hs2 Joe Rukin dressed up for the occasion in a tree suit.


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