As this website went live protesters were in tunnels and camps around Euston Square Gardens, protesting against the loss of the Gardens whilst the redevelopment of Euston Station continued.
We want to be clear that Greens4HS2 members support the principle of Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA), and so we agree that these protesters have the right to continue their demonstrations. It’s still really important to hold HS2 Ltd to account for their performance both in resolving this issue, and in their overall delivery of the project. HS2 Ltd, its contractors and its representatives should take all reasonable care whilst managing the situation as it progresses, and the use of illegal means to remove protesters must not be tolerated.
We also believe the protesters, whilst well-meaning, have picked the wrong target. The reality is that over the next four years this Conservative government intends to press ahead with its £27bn RIS2 road-building scheme, which will see over 4,000 miles of new roads laid down. These roads have no hope of recouping their carbon costs, and will cause decades of environmental damage that is incomparable to electric high speed railways like HS2.
Several of these projects, like the Silvertown Tunnel, the Lower Thames Crossing, and the M42 J5a spur, are in advanced design stages – it is the responsibility of the Green movement to do all that it can to delay, oppose and defeat them before they become a reality. Experience shows that it is more effective to shape or even stop major projects during their planning phases – once delivery is started, resistance is often little more than symbolic. We therefore call upon the protester groups that were so effective during the 90’s road-building campaigns to refocus their efforts on the massively damaging RIS2 programme, as it poses one of the greatest challenges to this country’s efforts to become carbon-neutral.