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HS2 protesters plan ‘national day of action’ on rail expansion | HS2

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A national day of action against HS2 – involving banner drops, solidarity protests and a Twitter storm – is scheduled for Monday as the Bill to extend the line beyond Crewe is introduced in parliament.

Environmental activists say the bill will ‘penalize immense and irreversible destruction to the environment’ and want to raise awareness of HS2’s ‘ecocide, corruption and continued financial mismanagement’.

By contrast, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called the bill, which extends HS2 from Crewe to Manchester, a “historic moment” in improving the country’s rail links.

The Department for Transport said the line would cut journey times from Manchester to London by around 55 minutes and Manchester to Birmingham by 45 minutes.

Labor politicians have described the proposals as a bad plan for the north and a missed opportunity.

The day of action is expected to include events along the line with a particular focus on Manchester, at Piccadilly Gardens, and Birmingham, at the Thinktank Science Museum.

Activists are also using social media and want to create a “Twitter storm” using the hashtags #HS2CostingTheEarth, #StopHS2 and #HS2Rebellion.

Alan, spokesman for Stop HS2 North, said activists started the day with banner drops. “Now we are going to participate in demonstrations and solidarity events along the proposed route, so that we can show the government how unpopular and unnecessary this project is,” he said.

“People are faced with a choice between being able to heat themselves or eat. In the meantime, HS2 has a blank check to commit terrible and irreversible ecocide. This money should be used to properly fund our NHS, improve local transport links, help ordinary people with the rising cost of living and solve our energy crisis.

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said he remained committed to bringing HS2 to the region. But he said it was the “bad plan”.

He added: “Building HS2 above ground at Manchester Piccadilly means the new station will be at full capacity from day one. This means the new Liverpool and Leeds rail services have to roll back. And it also means forever losing prime development land and the economic opportunities that go with it.

“We also have to ask ourselves again: why is Greater Manchester the only part of the country being asked to make a substantial financial contribution to the cost of HS2? We believe there is a better plan that would do much more to level the north of England with the south.

He called for a new underground station in Manchester to help deliver a new line between Manchester and Leeds, “it’s what we were promised”.

The government published its £96billion Integrated Rail Plan for the North in November, which scrapped an eastern part of HS2 and downgraded plans for a new line across the Pennines.

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, said Monday’s HS2 bill represented “a monumental missed opportunity to spur growth and investment across the North and Midlands.

“The rail betrayal will affect millions and leave swaths of the North and Midlands in the slow lane for decades.”

HS2 protesters plan ‘national day of action’ on rail expansion | HS2

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