Members of Extinction Rebellion have set up camp in the Colne Valley to protest the government’s high speed rail project HS2.
More than 100 climate change activists gathered for an “epic day of action” in the woodland park yesterday, with the demonstration continuing into this week.
The controversial rail line aims to roughly half the journey times for London-Birmingham and London-Manchester routes.
The move is popular among political leaders and business groups in northern England who say it is vital to boosting the transport links in the region.
But environmentalists argue that building the line would require the mass clearing of countryside habitat, including “irreplaceable” ancient woodland.
Protesters Mark said 'we are walking blindfolded in utter catastrophe'
Extinction Rebellion activist and member of the Save Colne Valley campaign group Mark Keir said the country “cannot afford to lose the vast biodiversity we have here.”
He said: “The breeding cycles of animals and plants must be taken into account and if we break those cycles we break the whole colonies down.
“Everything that is being done by HS2 is being done with closed eyes, we are walking blindfolded into an utter catastrophe – and we have to stop it.”
The protest coincides with a warning from the leaked the review into the project that said it could cost up to £106 billion – almost double the original estimate.
The government is still deciding whether to go ahead with the plans while they await the findings of the report by former HS2 Ltd chairman Doug Oakervee.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the decision will come in “weeks rather than months”.
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