Chris Packham backed stop HS2 petition receives 100,000 signatures in a few days

A petition launched by Chris Packham has amassed nearly 100,000 signatures calling on the Government to scrap HS2.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 9:18 am
Updated Friday, 8th January 2021, 9:22 am
Chris Packham started the petition

The petition calls for the Government to stop wasting taxpayers’ money on HS2 and to hold a new vote to repeal the existing legislation.

The petition will reveal the growing level of opposition against HS2 from up and down the country, according to its authors.

Chris Packham CBE, the naturalist, television presenter, writer and campaigner said:

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I'm very pleased, but frankly I’m not surprised that the petition has rocketed to over 100,000 signatures in just a few days. HS2 is an affront to more and more peoples sensibilities, we have woken up to its wholesale inadequacies, its outrageous costs and its disastrous impact upon the environment.

"It’s a dinosaur of an idea, conceived and sanctioned in a different age, but now our climate and environmental emergencies and the horrific Covid pandemic have changed the rules of the future of life on earth, and so, sadly we are left to ask people slower on the uptake to change their minds.

"And when it reaches 100K we will have that conversation.”

The lead signatories are: Chris Packham CBE, the naturalist, television presenter, writer and campaigner; Michael Mansfield QC, a leading human rights and civil liberties barrister and head of chambers at Nexus Chambers; Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods, charity trustee and Ambassador for the Wildlife Trusts; Doug Thornton, FRICS, former HS2 Ltd Land & Property Director; Jonathan Loescher, who raised complaints about HS2’s acquisition of his home and business in 2015 to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who found “HS2 Ltd’s actions fell below the reasonable standards we would expect, so much so that they constituted maladministration”.

The petition demonstrates the growing opposition to the project across a number of campaign groups. For the first time, the petition will unite the anti-HS2 movement, with the ultimate aim of invigorating Parliament to re-assess HS2 in the post-Covid economy and eventually face up to reality and cancel the entire project.

The HS2 project has seen growing opposition, with the costs spiralling to an estimated £108 billion. Independent research by Lord Berkeley has shown that this cost could rise even higher to £170 billion.

Anger and frustration have grown as the Government has continued to maintain its commitment to the project, despite the rising costs and ongoing pandemic. The petition has been launched to set out the arguments against HS2 and draw attention to the growing opposition to the project.

Sophie Dembinski, Head of Public Policy & UK Country Manager at Ecosia said:

“The biodiversity value of the trees and woodlands that will be removed as a result of HS2 will take hundreds of years to recover.

"The Government’s commitment to plant trees with one hand whilst ripping ancient woodlands out of the ground with another not only misleads the public, but shows a total disregard for the environment. HS2 will have disastrous long-term consequences for wildlife, not to mention our collective physical and mental wellbeing, particularly in a year which has demonstrated the importance of access to nature and protecting the environment to us all."

The signatories set out a number of key reasons, including:

HS2 is grossly over budget and a waste of taxpayers’ money, especially during the biggest national crisis since World War Two

HS2 is an ecological disaster and won’t help us achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

HS2 cannot be delivered on budget or on time to the specification approved by Parliament

HS2 has abused landowners up and down the line

HS2’s business case has disappeared; if Parliament were to vote on HS2 in its current form today and at the current cost and timeline, it would not approve the legislation

HS2 mislead Parliament in order to achieve the legislation for the project