LOCAL climate activists will stage protests in the centre of Bradford on Avon and Bath tomorrow as part of a nationwide demonstration of solidarity across the UK organised by StopHS2: DROP A BANNER TO DROP HS2.

In Bradford on Avon, local residents Nick and Chrissie Aslett will drop a large banner off the town bridge and in Bath local residents Mel and Stephen Clarke will also drop a banner off Cleveland Bridge as part of the national action to Stop HS2.

The High Speed 2 project has caused controversy since its inception but opposition has escalated over recent months.

Activists have established long-term protest camps along its route, occupying trees in danger of being cut down, and there have been multiple arrests.

The continued occupation by HS2 activists of the tunnels they dug under Euston Square in London recently gained huge global media interest.

Chrissie Aslett said: “Nick and I spent time last summer visiting a protest camp along the HS2 line and then joined the community walk from Birmingham to London.

“We are dropping this banner to raise awareness in our own community of the horrendous destruction of the HS2 project and in solidarity with those protestors up and down the line and with the brave Euston tunnellers.

“We are aware there are Covid restrictions in place but by stopping for just a few minutes on the bridge as part of our daily exercise we don’t believe we are putting anyone at risk.

"Our planet is put at risk with every day that passes as politicians delay tackling the climate emergency with the urgency it now needs.

“HS2 is the most expensive, wasteful and destructive project in UK history. Its cost is anticipated to be £170 billion and potentially £230 billion.

"It is set to destroy or irreparably damage 108 ancient woodlands, 693 wildlife sites, 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, five internationally-important wildlife sites protected by UK law, 2,000 homes and businesses and will displace 19,500 permanent, proper jobs.”

Nick Aslett said: “We need to act now. We have less than seven years to make the changes needed to keep global temperatures under 1.5 degrees.

"The UK Government has said we’re in a climate and ecological emergency but it will take 120 years for the planet to compensate for the colossal amount of CO2 produced by the construction of this rail project.”

A report produced by HS2 calculates that its overall construction and operation will cause carbon emissions of 1.49 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

He added: “As we adapt and respond to the learning we are taking from the Covid pandemic, it simply cannot be justified to mindlessly plough billions of public money into a carbon-emitting, ecologically destructive infrastructure project.

"When HS2 was first dreamt up the world was a different place. HS2 needs to wake up to the fact that our working practices have been changed for good.”

Mrs Aslett spent time last year living at the Crackley Woods protest camp near Kenilworth in Warwickshire. She said: “My time there was beautiful but traumatic.

“I saw veteran trees with the red circle of doom on them and witnessed 400-year-old ancient trees being felled and chipped.

"These beauties that suck the carbon from our atmosphere, that do so much to prevent flooding, it was utterly heart-breaking.

"The biodiversity we know is essential to protect our planet was being ripped up and destroyed without pause.”