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VIEWS FROM
THE BIVVY
Rob’s Ramblings
Jonathan Pie and Chris Packham launch
campaign to stop HS2 being built
Editor/Publisher
Rob Maylin
Bountyhunter Publications
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Also available this month,
Big Carp Issue 279.
Miss it and miss out!
2
Jonathan Pie has described HS2 as “a giant train set that eats money while tearing up the
countryside”. TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham has teamed up with Britain’s most
famous ctitious news reporter to launch a campaign to stop High Speed 2 (HS2) being
built.
In a satirical YouTube video published this week, Mr Packham and Jonathan Pie, a char­
acter played by comedian Tom Walker, lambast the high­speed rail link, which is due to be
built between Leeds and London.
They also call on all viewers to write to their local MP and demand that HS2 gets
scrapped. The video begins with Pie talking about the “largest and most expensive infras­
tructure project this country has ever seen” in what seems like a traditional news report,
but he then launches into one of his characteristic tirades: “Invest in the rail network in the
north, you numpties!” He claims the project will not actually help reduce UK air travel, as
airports in Manchester and Birmingham – two of the biggest cities that will be served by
HS2 trains – are being expanded.
He also describes HS2 as “a giant train set that eats money while tearing up the country­
side” before saying the project should be renamed “how to expand the London commuter
belt”.
At one point, he says: “You want to create a Northern Powerhouse? Invest in the rail net­
work in the north, you numpties!” He adds: “This isn’t about creating capacity; it’s about
creating more money for huge conglomerates with their noses in the trough, lobbying peo­
ple high up in our government who, in turn, are spending millions in taxpayers’ money to
go and lobby other MPs to support HS2. “When I say MPs, I mean the people that we elect
to serve our best interests. What little public consultation there has been, goes like this –
you will be listened to and then roundly ignored.”
In the video, he then meets up with Mr Packham and asks him about the environmental
impact of the project, which could cost up to £86 billion, according to recent reports. “It’s
just an enormous act of ecological vandalism”. He says that HS2 could be “catastrophic”, as
it is “the largest deforestation programme we’ve undertaken in the UK since the First World
War”. He says: “The wildlife that we’ve got, we should be ghting tooth and nail to protect,
and if we destroy all of that nature, we won’t survive ourselves. We won’t need a rail net­
work to get from London to Birmingham 20 minutes faster.” He adds: “This Cathederal of
biodiversity cannot be replaced; you can rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, and it will look
pretty much like the one that was there before. If you cut this wood down, you cannot re­
build it by sticking in a few saplings. “It’s just an enormous act of ecological vandalism, at
a time when we really should know better.”
Under the current plans, phase one of the high­speed rail link will open between London
and Birmingham in December 2026, before phase two of the project sees the railway get
extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds by 2033. It is due to connect to another rail pro­
ject, Northern Powerhouse Rail, which has been designed to improve rail connections be­
tween some of the north”s largest cities. However, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott,
regional leaders across the north and a House of Lords select committee are concerned
the government may overspend on the rst phase of the project and run out of money be­
fore completing northern sections of the railway. The projected cost of the high­speed rail
link was £55.7 billion, but according to the Financial Times, Allan Cook, chairman of HS2
Ltd, has written to the Department for Transport to say the project cannot be delivered on
budget. It has been suggested that the overall cost could increase by more than £30 billion
– to £86 billion.
Responding to the video, an HS2 Ltd spokeswoman said: “HS2 will transform rail travel
in the UK, give passengers thousands of extra seats every day and take freight o our roads.
The West Yorkshire region will reap signicant economic benets, with Leeds already at­
tracting over £500m of investment since HS2 was announced in 2013. The city region’s HS2
Growth Strategy predicts an extra £54 billion to the regional economy and 40,000 new jobs.
Business leaders across the north have given their backing to both HS2 and NPR, recognising
the integral role both projects will play in boosting the north’s economic prosperity and ad­
dressing the north­south divide.
By Nathan Hyde

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