What are you protesting?
This action is drawing attention to the wildlife crimes, public dissent and life-threatening operations associated with HS2 construction work. We are protesting the fact that HS2 has been wrongly treated as ‘essential’ work during a pandemic, putting the NHS under pressure and risking lives completely unnecessarily. We protest the hypocrisy of HS2 contractors ‘supporting’ the NHS, when their own workers don’t have PPE and are not social-distancing correctly, as well as the brutal treatment on several sites of peaceful tree protectors.
(Here’s evidence of NET using unnecessary, violent force and breaking social distancing rules on 21st April 2020 near the woods around Kenilworth. And some other pics/vid here.)
This is a video of a worker claiming to have killed snakes, and this shows force against protectors, and the chopping down of trees with nests.
Why aren’t you complaining through the ‘proper’ channels remotely?
We are! Many people are taking part in ‘remote actions’, coordinated by a group known as ‘Risky Business’. This allows them to report sites, ring up contractors to complain, and make their opinions heard on public platforms. There have been letters of complaint sent to MPs, Ministers, even the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, this alone has not produced the desired effect of shutting down work on HS2, and so direct action is also being taken by tree protectors on the ground.
It is disappointing that remote actions are not being taken seriously by contractors and the government, but it is hardly surprising, given their clear lack of concern for the welfare of the public or workers on this project.
What is this tactic?
Non-violent Direct Action, also known as NVDA. It has a long and impressive history in protest movements throughout the world, including the Civil Rights movement of the United States, the Suffragette movement here in the UK, and the Independence movement of India under colonial rule. Research has demonstrated that peaceful civil resistance methods are more effective than violent methods for creating social change.
Isn’t HS2 good for the environment?
You could be forgiven for thinking a railway would be good for the environment, but there’s a reason so many environmentalists oppose it. HS2 is not the project you think it is.
HS2 had its own advert taken down by the advertising standards authority, as it was deemed to be too misleading, depicting a single train with no overhead wires, surrounded by trees. The reality is massive destruction to shave a few minutes off a journey from London to Birmingham. And far from being good for the environment, HS2 itself has admitted that the line would not become carbon neutral over its 120-year projected lifetime!
The ‘enabling’ works to clear ancient woodland have already caused extensive and irreversible damage to the environment; over 100 such ancient woodlands will be destroyed, along with river paths and over 700 special wildlife sites. These precious ecosystems and the biodiversity they hold can never grow back, not matter how many trees are planted to replace them. HS2 will also pollute an aquifer offering more than 2 million people drinking water.
HS2 don’t want people to know the truth.They have illegally blocked damning reports on inaccurate forecasting, and have continued to fell trees in the nesting season, when it is illegal to disturb nesting birds. Trees are being immediately chipped on-site so that evidence of nests cannot be found.
This line is not offering anything new or necessary to our nation. In an age of remote working, marginally increasing journey times at massive cost is a vanity project at best. HS2 is forecast to cost over £100 billion, which will cost each taxpayer at least £3,375! (Follow this link to find an infographic on HS2 from StopHS2. The StopHS2 website can be found here.)
Check out these Guardian articles for more information:
– HS2 will destroy or damage hundreds of UK wildlife sites, says report
– Will HS2 really help cut UK’s carbon footprint?
This money could be used to actually protect and preserve the environment, or improve existing transport links.
Have you considered what the locals think about all this? Aren’t you putting them at risk?
Many of the tree protectors and those involved are locals themselves, who the violations of HS2 directly affect. Regardless, we all have a right to these ancient woodlands and to the environment. The local flora and fauna are hardly able to speak for themselves.
Local communities have had their lives and health jeopardised by the works of HS2. The actions today are necessary to disrupt, and hopefully stop, a hugely destructive project which is unnecessarily putting lives at risk.
Who do you need at the camps?
Everyone! This is a collective campaign and all the camps need people to step up and get involved. If you’re willing and able to stay for a while and help us disrupt HS2’s work, that’s great. But you don’t have to be a tree-climber or an arrestable, and you don’t have to commit to staying. We need people who can help in a range of ways. You could bring supplies, help prepare food, wash up or fetch water, for example. And don’t underestimate the importance of visiting to boost morale. The camps are full of kind, creative, caring people who pull together – but standing up to HS2 Ltd can be very challenging, and it makes a huge difference knowing there’s support out there.
- Be prepared to muck in, and ask what you can do to help – there will always be something to do
- Bring friends, food, musical instruments and anything else you have to offer (see below for more info on what to bring)
- Be nervous. It’s natural to feel shy about joining a group of people you may not have met but the camps are friendly places and you will be welcomed
- Come expecting to sit around getting drunk. This is a campaign and we need people who are up for getting involved