Shropshire Star comment: HS2 battle already over

The new HS2 railway line is going ahead. While protestors cause chaos by digging tunnels and climbing trees, they will not change the course of progress.

A anti-HS2 campaigner
A anti-HS2 campaigner

The line is considered an essential addition to the UK’s infrastructure and has passed through the most stringent checks and balances to win approval.

Rather like Brexit or the debate surrounding Scottish Independence, it is a deeply contentious issue and there are strongly held feelings on both sides of the debate. However, as with those two issues, the matter has also been settled once and for all. The fight to stop HS2 is lost and so thoughts must turn to mitigating the effects of construction while also ensuring that it becomes a force for good.

Communities along the line, including many in this region, must prepare for the years of disruption they face when work begins. Inevitably, there will be those who do not think the benefits outweigh the costs and their voices must be heard and respected. On that point, it is essential that construction teams listen and do what they can to avoid unnecessary disruption to local communities.

It is essential that people come together to reduce the damage that may otherwise arise. Parish councils can put aside parochial differences and work together. HS2 has a profoundly important responsibility to those it must work alongside and it has a responsibility to listen and to answer to issues that may arise. While the fight to stop HS2 is over, the battle to make sure it is constructed in a way that minimises harm to the environment while also avoiding disruption to the lives of locals goes on. There is a legitimate claim now in saying that the protesters trying to stop HS2 are actually potentially causing more agony for those living near the line by prolonging the entire process.

Those who opposed the line presented cogent arguments that were intelligent and perfectly articulated the concerns of many. Now such voices must be turned to making HS2 accountable to locals and to making sure issues of noise and light pollution, dust and environmental damage are reduced.

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