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November 2011
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hs2 walk HS2 solidarity walk
By Geoff and Anthea Hartley

The walk on Sunday 9th October was a demonstration of the resolve of campaigners to continue the fight against HS2 and a wonderful example of the community spirit which exists in and around The Lee. There was a great sense of camaraderie and support from all those who joined the walk from Annie Baileys to The Cock and Rabbit on the grey, but dry, October Sunday morning. Approximately 70 supporters of all ages took part as the walk followed the proposed route of HS2.

Although everybody enjoyed themselves it did highlight the brutal destruction that will be inflicted upon the beautiful beech woods and Chilterns landscape in the event of HS2 going ahead. The donations received from supporters raised over £800 (and 10p!) for the anti-HS2 campaign (one little girl generously insisted on making her own personal contribution of 10p in addition to the family £10).

hs2 walk 2 For those who were not able to join the walk but wanted to show their support, there was a warm welcome awaiting them at The Cock and Rabbit. No matter how they arrived Rick Brocket, resourceful as ever, kindly volunteered to roll out the lovely old Scout Bus to ferry walkers to and from their cars parked at Annie Baileys. Franco and Vicky generously refreshed everyone with drinks as they arrived at The Cock and Rabbit at the end of the walk and hosted a jazz band to welcome the walkers back to The Lee. A large banner across The Green left nobody in any doubt about the feeling of solidarity towards the campaign to stop HS2 decimating The Chilterns.

Heartfelt thanks must go to Vicky and Mary for organising the event, to Franco for his generous support, to Rick for his transportation skills and to the landowners who gave their permission for the walk to take place over their land. This would also seem an opportune moment to thank Kathryn Gurney and all the other members of the C.R.A.G. committee (Chiltern Ridge Action Group) for their hard work and dedication in fighting the anti-HS2 campaign in our area.

So – Who Will be Left Holding the HS2 Baby?

It was good to see so many youngsters taking an enthusiastic interest in the anti-HS2 campaign, all of whom completed the walk – helped along with the occasional pick-a-back. It is vital that children and young adults be encouraged to take an active part in the campaign to stop HS2. It is THEY who will be footing the bill for this scandalous project, they who will be the earners and the tax payers asked to subsidise HS2 when, if, it is finally completed. Many of the current campaigners will be retired, or worse, and it will be the next generation who will be left to pay. Youngsters should be encouraged to get onto Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness amongst their peers and argue the case against HS2.

One young campaigner’s view:
“I am thirty years old and have lived in The Chilterns most of my life. My sister is a nurse, my brother-in-law a policeman, my sister-in-law a teacher and I am involved with the Armed Forces. All of us have felt the effects of the Government’s austerity measures which will affect our salaries and pensions. We do not object to these measures if they will genuinely help relieve the national debt but to then witness the Government proposing to spend at least £33 billion on a hopelessly flawed and unnecessary project such as HS2 is deeply galling.”
We should ask ourselves if we have done enough to support the anti-HS2 campaign, or in some cases whether we have done anything at all! If the answer is “NO” to both or either of these questions, then NOW is the time to get involved. Do not rely on others to fight the campaign on your behalf, they might be relying on you.

Two very important and effective ways to help influence the outcome of the HS2 project are:
  1. Go onto http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk and register your opposition to HS2 AND ASK FRIENDS AND RELATIONS TO DO THE SAME.
  2. Write to your MP on www.highspeedrail.org.uk. This is an easy, fully automated site that gives the name and contact details of the local MP and a template for a suitable letter which can be amended or altered by the sender.
It is vital that MPs outside the area of the proposed HS2 route be alerted to the opposition felt towards the project. Contact family and friends (a Christmas card list is a good place to start) living outside The Chilterns and ask them to write to their MP – or better still, ask their permission for you to send a letter on their behalf, then you will know that it has been done.

Our representatives in Parliament cannot fight for our cause without receiving the support they need in the form of letters opposing HS2 from their constituents. Please take a few minutes to write these letters and help prevent our young people from being left footing the bill for HS2 and having The Chiltern countryside scarred for life.

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