A bit of good news today. Celebrity ‘Environmentalist’ (and paid tour-guide to the jet-set in exotic locations) Chris Packham has lost his legal case against HS2 today. In a double-blow he not only lost his call for an immediate injunction to stop tree felling in Crackley woods, the two judges hearing his case also refused his application for a Judicial Review on the grounds that “there was no real prospect of success” – which is hardly surprising as Packham had fixated on the Oakervee report and its conclusions, ignoring the fact it was merely a non-statutory review that had no legal standing unlike the Environmental Impact Assessment, or indeed – the Parliamentary process and legality of a Hybrid Bill that has been granted Royal Assent!
Needless to say, this leaves his eco-fascist supporters on the ground up shit creek. Or in their case – up a tree! Bailiffs are continuing with the eviction sanctioned by the High Court and already some of the tiny bunch of people in the trees have been brought down and several arrested.
Meanwhile, the game of bullshit bingo on social media continues with no lie too big to tell. The irony is the protesters are claiming this fiasco as a ‘victory’ as they’ve managed to delay work for all of – ooh – a few days! The levels of delusion and arrogance amongst the protesters is a sight to behold on social media- as is the bluster. They pretend they’re actually the law and will be taking others to court. Really? Remind me, who’s being arrested and who’s doing the arresting? These people need to give their heads a wobble. One day they’re issuing their demands (seriously? Get over yourselves!), the next day the real world loses its patience with them and they realise just who is in charge as they’re taken down from the trees by the law and nicked.
I wish I could have respect for people who claim to be protecting the environment, but honestly, this bunch do nothing but harm to the environmental movement because their sense of self-righteousness and inability to understand how ordinary people see their antics. Their sanctimoniousness is weapons-grade. They completely ignore the costs and logistics of keeping their tiny band from causing trouble. There’s literally hundreds of security staff, bailiffs and police being tied up here, not to mention the miles of fencing and other material needed – and all for what, so that the eco-fascists can ponce around in their pointless videos on the likes of Facebook and Instagram. But what does these videos actually show? Their utter failure to stop anything.
But, do you know the real irony about these people who’re kicking up a fuss about Crackley woods? Have a look at a map.
HS2 can be seen at the top of the map just clipping the edge of the wood and avoiding the majority of it. It couldn’t do any less damage than it is as this is clearly the optimum alignment. But, hang on – what’s that dismantled railway below it that pierced the very heart of the wood? That’s the former Kenilworth-Berkswell LNWR route (opened in 1884). It’s now part of the Kenilworth Greenway, which will be temporarily diverted between Burton Green and Berkswell during HS2 construction, and then restored alongside HS2 when it is completed, including passing through the new public open space that will be created atop the Burton Green green tunnel . . . reuniting the centre of the village that was cut in half in 1884 by the LNWR line! So, the Victorians clearly had less regard for the environment and ancient woodland than HS2 does!
I’ll look forward to seeing the Judges judgement on Packham’s daft court case on Monday. I suspect it’s not going to be kind. I feel sorry for the poor mugs who he persuaded into putting up the money for this through crowdfunding. Meanwhile, expect the Government granting HS2 ‘Notice to Proceed’ very very soon…
Chris Pearson said:
It’s an interesting point Paul. He recently stuck his nose into the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, AKA Broadland Northway or A1270, or to put it another way Norfolk County Council trying to fulfil a void that Highways England didn’t when they built the Norwich Southern Bypass A47 in 1992, but didn’t complete the circle to the north of the city making it an outer-outer ring road. So the A1270 will join both ends of the A47 bypass as such. Anyway the only thing stopping it, which is why Highway’s England stopped short of completing the circle is the environmental impact on the Wensum (River Wensum) Valley around the village of Ringland and the superb of Taverham. Sure it’s picturesque to a point, but it’s more of a giant flood plain like Bawburgh to the east is on the A47. However, one big difference. Average houses prices in Bawburgh £140K, in Ringland and Taverham or at least the Wensum Valley bit near the Royal Norwich Golf Course £450K get my drift. The completed distributor road will avoid the “rat run” along the B1535 through Hockering & Weston Longville, as A47 traffic tries to join the A1270 via the A1067, an industrial/agricultural area with average property prices anywhere between £140-£250K, so will benefit people in two major towns Dereham & Fakenham combined population £35.000 + Norwich City & Suburbs 350,000, against the Wensum Valley combined population 1000 if that. Where was Packham when the Southern Bypass was built? Nowhere around here, I doubt he’d even heard of the place, other than Norwich if he’s watched footy or saw Sale of the Century on TV. But as soon as we want to expand a road over a marsh, where an environmentally and engineering’ly impressive “screened viaduct” will take the road high above the marsh to avoid any impact on the wildlife and all of a sudden Mr Packham shows up in town. I’m all for the environment and wildlife, but as a railwayman of forty years I can see the environmental benefits of a rail line too. Sure we don’t like countryside being ruined, but here in Norfolk I’ve seen loads of countryside built over, the only time it becomes an issue is when high value property owners see their assets under threat. NIMBIES I think is the word, and I doubt Mr. Packham lives in community housing?
“Grand Central”? Surely “Great Central” route. Or “the route HS2 anti’s love but will forget about when it suits them”.
Anyway, looking at Twitter, the RSPB can now go on my f**k off list when it comes to charity donations. Their Tweets following this were as mad as Packham’s.
Mark Plummer said:
What frustrates me is Packham has had numerous years to put his point of view across & have changes made. He & his like have won most of the environmental battles – just compare the number of tunnels being built for #hs2 to a similar line in France – suspect hs2 has far more!
Also all this protesting & court cases costs us the taxpayer numerous amount of money – it’s bonkers …
Nigel Davies said:
Great to see excellent analysis from someone who knows what is really going on. Top class stuff Paul.
Note that Chris Packham’s biggest fans at Channel 4 failed to report that he has failed with his court case.
Watching Richard Wellings put out absolutely any anti HS2 commentary, which is totally at odds with the policies advocated by his hard right Institute of Economic Affairs, reflects the abject lack of integrity in much of the anti HS2 case.