Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:16 am
A Downton Abbey star has taken to Warwickshire’s waterways to highlight his opposition to HS2
Actor Peter Egan, who played the Marquess of Flintshire in the hit show, spent a recent Sunday morning on the Grand Union Canal.
The 72-year-old conservationist fears the wildlife and its natural habitat is set to be damaged ‘beyond repair’ by the high speed line.
Mr Egan said: “It was terrific to take a trip on the Grand Union Canal. Sunday morning was a perfect time to visit this extraordinary waterway, to have a quiet view of the scenery and experience the wonderful sense of peace you get.
“This area of amazing and beautiful wildlife is going to be affected so detrimentally by the HS2 rail from London to Birmingham.
“To just experience this area of natural beauty and see how this development will so devastatingly affect it is deeply depressing. To save 20 minutes of a journey is not worth it.”
Previous protests have seen mum and son Gerry and Matt and Bishop walking from Cubbington to London, while Kenilworth schoolboy Alex Rukin has petitioned parliament over funding for the project.
Mr Egan added: “Permission has not been granted for the project and yet preparations are ongoing, with little consideration to the protests being made by the local community.
“It seems to me the corporate mindset behind the HS2 project has got to address the concerns of individuals, who care about bio diversity, who care about our wildlife and its natural habitat, who care about not only our own health but the health of our planet. These voices must be listened to, and the concerns expressed to protect the waterlands and natural filtration system which, as I understand it, will be damaged beyond repair by HS2.
“I know commuting is a dreadful consumer of people’s lives, but is it really worth the price this wonderful area of natural beauty will pay for such a saving?”
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:49 am
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:22 am
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:27 pm
Government signals it could scrap HS2 as it launches review amid concern over spiralling costs
The Government has signalled it could scrap HS2 if costs continue to spiral, as Boris Johnson today appointed an arch-critic of the £56bn project to help determine whether it should go ahead.
An independent review will now analyse whether projected costs of the rail line are still “realistic”, as well as weighing up the costs of “reprioritising, cancelling or descoping the project”.
The review will be assisted by an advisory panel which includes leading rail figures, and will advise ministers “how and whether” HS2 should progress.
It will be headed by Douglas Oakervee, a former HS2 Ltd chairman, whose appointment has led to accusations from Tory MPs that the Government will be “marking its own homework”.
However, the selection of Lord Berkley, a long-term critic of HS2, is likely to fuel speculation that the Government is seriously considering mothballing the rail line.
Lord Berkley, a Labour peer and railway expert, has repeatedly attacked HS2 Ltd, as well as challenging the Department for Transport’s cost figures.
Whilst Mr Johnson has expressed his desire to deliver large-scale national infrastructure, he has acknowledged that the costs of HS2 are rapidly increasing and could pass “north of £100bn” by completion.
Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:47 am
Pensioners feared they would be forced out of home after receiving compulsory purchase letter from HS2
DISTRAUGHT pensioners feared they would be forced out of their Cubbington home of more than 50 years after receiving a blanket compulsory purchase letter from HS2.
The husband and wife, who are both in their 80s, received a letter in June addressed simply to ‘The Owner’ which they thought was informing them HS2 Ltd was serving a compulsory purchase order on the Rugby Road house they have lived in since 1963.
When the Observer contacted HS2 it emerged the letters referred to the grass verge between the road and the couple’s property.
HS2 said the legal ownership of the land was unregistered so both Warwickshire County Council and householders had been been sent notices advising it was needed by the firm.
But the couple’s son was angry and said the letters had caused the family a great deal of stress.
He told the Observer: “The letter was totally unsuitable and put them in a state of alarm. It doesn’t even have their names on.
“The whole thing has been very stressful. It’s threatening and alarming.
“My dad especially gets very upset about things. Why can’t they send a proper letter to explain rather than a standard letter which causes a lot of stress? The way they’re doing it there’s just no care for people.”
A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd declined to comment on the confusion the letter had caused but said the company would contact the family directly to discuss their concerns.
Stop HS2 campaigner Joe Rukin was stinging in his criticism of the company.
He told the Observer: “HS2 has been ridiculously impersonal in rushing to get letters out like there’s no tomorrow, even though they may not need the land, so they can make it impossible to cancel the process.
“They are incapable of dignity and respect. The fact that these people are human beings is irrelevant. Numbers on a balance sheet or markings on the map is the only consideration given to these people.”
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:31 pm
Removal of ancient woodland halted while HS2 review underway
REMOVAL of ancient woodland to make way for HS2 has been halted while a review into the controversial project takes place.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has told bosses of the high speed rail project to assess which woodland removals can be halted until after the review is reported on at the end of the year.
The review – headed by former HS2 chairman Douglas Oakervee – will look at HS2’s benefits and impacts, affordability and efficiency, deliverability and scope.
And while it is underway woodland clearance programme will be halted, unless it is shown as ‘absolutely necessary’ to avoid major cost and schedule impacts, should the HS2 scheme proceed.
The project – which will see 54 kilometres of the line cut through Warwickshire – would involve removing part of woods in Cubbington – including its 200-year-old pear tree – and Crackley Wood in Kenilworth, along with Long Itchington Wood and land near Stoneleigh.
The transport secretary said: “There is no sense in hiding the challenges HS2 faces, or masking the difficult decisions that need to be taken.
“So, as the review continues, we must take a sensible approach and recognise that some works simply cannot be undone later.
“Having listened to the concerns of affected residents and parliamentary colleagues, I have ordered HS2 Ltd to consider what works affecting ancient woodland clearances can be delayed for the duration of the review. This ensures we avoid irreversible decisions without major impacts on cost and schedule.
“HS2 may be a complex project overall, but I think this request is just common sense.”
Ecologist Luci Ryan said: “This is a welcome step in the right direction for our ancient woodlands, but unfortunately these woods remain threatened as HS2 can still decide for themselves whether works continue or not. Until the outcome of the review all ancient woodlands should be off limits full stop. Our welcome is therefore cautious.
“The fact the secretary of state recognises clearing irreplaceable ancient woodland is irreversible is a huge step in the right direction.”
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:05 pm
Ancient woodland still being cut down by HS2 - despite supposed government 'halt', say campaigners
CAMPAIGNERS claim ancient woodland continues to be cut down to make way for HS2 – just days after an announcement work was set to stop during a review into the high speed rail line.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday that historic woodland would not be removed before the review into the controversial project was completed later this year.
But residents in Cubbington say work was underway on Wednesday (September 18) in South Cubbington Wood, which is also home to an award-winning 200-year-old pear tree.
A spokeswoman for South Cubbington Action Group Against HS2 said: “Far from being saved for the moment from the ravages of HS2, South Cubbington Wood seems to be under a greater threat.
“In the past two days there has been a great deal of activity. Fencing is being installed in the wood, with small trees being cut down to make way for it, a ditch on the edge of the wood has been filled in and pipes laid. There is much lorry activity, with great amounts of dust being generated from the haul roads.
“Grant Shapps’ announcement left HS2 and their contractors a get-out clause, and they seem determined to use it. They have not even taken the time to assess what can be left alone for the time being, as the Secretary of State said should be done.”
HS2 has been contacted for a response about South Cubbington Wood.
Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:03 pm
HS2 say work on ancient woodlands to be halted until next year
WORK on ancient woodlands is set to be halted until next year say HS2.
Contractors claim they will delay work in Warwickshire until early 2020 on several sites, including South Cubbington Wood.
Protestors are currently camping in ancient woodland in Cubbington in a bid to stop contractors from the high speed line development from removing trees.
A review into the controversial line is currently taking place and is set to be completely by the end of the year.
Secretary of State Grant Shapps said while the Oakervee review was carried out work on ancient woodland would be halted – but campaigners claimed HS2 contractors were in South Cubbington days later planning to dig up some of the historic site.
A HS2 spokesman said: “As highlighted by the Secretary of State, during the Oakervee Review we must strike a sensible balance between keeping the programme on track, and recognising that some works cannot be undone.
“We have assessed 11 ancient woodlands, parts of which were due to be affected by preparations to build Britain’s new high speed railway this autumn, during the period of the Oakervee review.
“Work will now be deferred to autumn or winter 2020 on five of these sites, and to early 2020 on six of the sites, including South Cubbington Wood. We will also take measures to protect wildlife to ensure they are not affected when work begins in early 2020.”
Woodland near Kenilworth including Birches Wood, along with South Cubbington Wood, Crackley Wood and Broadwells Road, near Burton Green, will all have work deferred until early next year.
Roughknowles Wood near Kenilworth will have work delayed until next autumn.
But HS2 say they will continue work to carry out measures to protect wildlife including localised removal of tree branches for protected species works.
The spokesman added: “We will not remove branches from any ancient or veteran trees within an ancient woodland so as not to affect the integrity of the ancient woodlands.
“Other essential preparatory works will continue including low level vegetation clearance, fencing and preparation of site accesses.
“We are continuing some work as scheduled in South Cubbington to establish a compound, prepare the site for future work, install fencing and establish internal roads."