A summer solstice adventure from celebration to conservation
June 20th, 2020 - concerned citizens meet up at the proposed site of a new station and prepare to walk the length of the proposed HS2 line between Birmingham and London. The atmosphere is upbeat and positive but people are deeply concerned and upset. The HS2 rail line has always been unpopular but it is about more than that now. It has become an emblem of the United Kingdom’s government’s self defeating war against nature.
The UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. As the climate emergency rages around us, we need ancient woodland and mature tree cover more than ever. The governments’ ill conceived, dogmatic and violent determination to overrule local opposition and press ahead with airport expansion and a giant shuttle service that will connect the new aviation hubs has ignited a popular revolution.
Last week, the government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) delivered a stinging rebuke of the government’s record and said ministers must urgently up their game if the UK is to avoid a significant rebound in carbon emissions after the coronavirus crisis and meet its 2050 net zero carbon target. Writing in The Ecologist, Kevin Anderson, one of the world’s leading climate scientists says -
...as the paper demonstrates, peel away the layers of obfuscation and even these ‘climate leaders’ are actively choosing to fail – and by a huge margin. As such… the future for both humankind and many ecosystems looks bleak.
Concerned citizens set out on the march
TV presenter and ecological campaigner Chris Packham says the "public has been conned on HS2" as the Court of Appeal grants a new hearing on the decision for HS2 to proceed.
Mr Packham said:
“I am delighted that the Lord Justices see merit in hearing the appeal and that they have acknowledged the ‘considerable public interest’ in the case - a public interest which spans the heinous and irreparable damage done to ancient woodland, breeding birds, badgers and bats this Spring, the complete incompatibility of this project to the government’s obligations to address climate change, the appalling conduct of HS2 Ltd and its employees in a time of global crisis, and the future drain that the project will be on that public’s purse, which due to the pandemic is empty.
The public have been conned by HS2, hopefully now we, the public, will see some justice.
Mr Packham also helped launch - https:/standforthetrees.org/ urgently calling for people to email their MPs.
All along the threatened land, camps have sprung up full of people determined to physically stop the deforestation and destruction of precious wildlife habitat. These camps are vibrant, happy places where people are meeting and being creative and organising themselves. Local communities bring in food and supplies.
The people’s determination is fierce. The enemies of the trees have always been the enemy of the people.
Crackley woods protection camp
An alliance of environmental NGOs, media companies and concerned citizens have come together to produce a series of short films about the UK’s celebrated woodland camps. The two films report on members of the public who have come together from across the UK to set up camps across ancient woodlands in England with the intention of protecting and saving them from the immediate threat of the UK’s largest deforestation in history since World War 1 during the bird nesting’s season.
Trees play a vital role in combating climate chaos by removing planet wrecking emissions from the air around us. Today only 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree canopy cover compared to an EU average of 38%. It was reported in 2019 that England would need to plant an extra 3.7 million acres of woodland to meet targets set and current figures show that it fell 71% short of targets in planting trees in the last year.
The largest deforestation in Britain since World War 1 could devastate 108 Ancient Woodlands, 693 Local Wildlife Sites and 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for the HS2 Railway in February 2020 with a projected cost of over £110 billion pounds that includes works that will heartlessly be cutting down large swathes of trees while birds are nesting.
Find out more and view films at - wethepeoplesaveourancientwoodland.co.uk
Films are also available to view here -
A camp resident
There are many things that people are being asked to do to help even while social distancing. These include -