A group of environmental charities have come together to urge the Government to rethink its approach to the HS2 line between London and Birmingham.
The ‘Right Lines Charter’, which is published today, sets out four core principles ‘for doing High Speed Rail well.’
The charities among those to support the Charter include Campaign to Protect Rural England, Greenpeace UK and the Wildlife Trust.
The Charter seeks to achieve the best long-term outcome from the project for the country, climate, communities and the countryside.
It also calls for a national transport strategy and effective public participation, something that is argued to have been lacking during this project’s plans.
Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:
“The Government needs to be listening rather than shouting encouragement at one side. A new high speed line can help provide the extra rail capacity the country needs, but the current HS2 route would cause unacceptable damage to the beauty and tranquillity of much-loved countryside.
“The Government must consult properly and show that it is prepared to listen to legitimate concerns.”
Many who oppose the £17bn project believe the plans to have been forced upon the public with no prior consultation.
The Government expects the project to begin in 2016 should the plans go ahead.
Last month a group of 21 business figures and politicians called for the proposed link between London and Birmingham to be scrapped.
In the open letter, the project was described as a ‘white elephant’ and ‘vanity project.’
However, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond believes the project to be crucial to Britain’s economy and the business ‘divide’ between the north and south.