CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

After the failure of HS2 what about tree-planting?

31 October, 2019

• WHEN HS2 is finally put out of its misery, what will we be left with?

We will be left with large tracts of some of the most valuable real estate in the country, shovel ready for multi-billion pounds worth of development. (HS2 lorry chaos fears on estate, plus various letters October 24).

And, all the while, no tedious planning permission procedure was ever needed for tearing down homes and ripping up ancient trees and woodlands. The authorities simply applied compulsory powers to carry out their wanton destruction.

Without the cloak of such a massive infrastructure project, permission would never have been granted for such wholesale destruction.

But now, here it is, destruction complete, project abandoned, so what’s next? It’s a property developer’s naughty dream. It is tempting to speculate that this was the sinister aim all along.

The finances simply do not compute and neither do the practicalities. They never have and there is plenty of evidence that players close to the project right from the outset were fully aware of this. But not so fast!

The losers here are the people, the citizens and businesses who have lost everything. Ok, so they might have been paid as little as possible by way of compensation, but no amount of money can compensate for the loss of that which you have spent a lifetime building up.

So, no, we should not hand over this land to the very forces who destroyed it. Tragically the damage is permanent, and what was will never return.

But, having been cleared, the land is now perfectly primed for rising again as the northern extension of London’s National Park City project.

Let’s plant a million trees where the bulldozers once ruled, and let’s speed London’s progress towards a living city we can actually breathe in again. Close to a million marchers turned out for last summer’s climate march.

If we all plant just one tree, we’ll have the job done in no time. The disastrous HS2 legacy would blossom into something beautiful for all future generations to enjoy.

KIRSTEN DE KEYSER
Green Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
Holborn & St Pancras

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