Protests continue as HS2 minister appointed

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Protests against the HS2 project have continued along the proposed route, despite the government appointing a minister specifically responsible for the scheme.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson confirmed today that he will oversee the project after it was given the green light last week by Boris Johnson. 

The controversial high speed railway aims to improve connectivity between London, Birmingham and Manchester but has been criticised for repeated delays and spiralling costs.

Mr Stephenson  became a transport minister in last week’s government reshuffle by the Prime Minister and will also be responsible for Northern Powerhouse Rail – a scheme to develop high-speed rail links across the Pennines.

He has previously served as a Foreign Office minister and as a Government Whip, having first been elected as an MP in 2010.

Announcing his new appointment, Mr Stephenson said it is “essential we keep a firm grip on these vital projects … so we can deliver vital connections, spread prosperity and level up this country.”

But environmental campaigners from groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Stop HS2 have also protested the railway because of fears over its impact on nature.

Activists today attempted to lock themselves to one of the gates to the construction site and appealed to members of the public to help the cause.

In a video shared on Facebook this morning, one said: “This has got to be worth protecting.

“This is your future, this is our future, this is our children’s future.

“Not only is this destroying the nature around us on a vast scale, this is much, much more than any quarry, this is much, much more than any mine, this is much, much more than anything we’ve seen in this country for a very long time.”

Read more

Grant Shapps: HS2 project will be run ‘like the Olympics’

Jeremy Corbyn: North will be ‘sorely disappointed’ by HS2 plans

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