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CLIMATE activists held a day of socially distanced synchronised “bat actions” along the HS2 railway line today to protect thousands of potential bat roosts they said could be destroyed.
Campaigners from HS2 Rebellion took action across England over concerns that the building of the high-speed track could mean a death sentence for bats and other wildlife.
HS2 has already cleared hundreds of trees during bird-nesting and wildlife-breeding season, flouting wildlife laws, the activists claimed, adding that they had witnessed HS2 ripping down trees with bat boxes and bird nets in them and “immediately chipping the evidence.”
Bat-themed events took place at the protests, including people dressed in costume with banners reading: “Bat Massacre @ Broadwells by HS2” and “NHSnotHS2.” Some activists blocked compounds to delay the construction work.
In the Midands, HS2 Rebellion’s Matt Bishop said: "The worst wildlife crime in Warwickshire’s history is taking place now.
“Natural England, charged with upholding that law, has allowed HS2 to be self-policing in accepting a statement from them that ‘no bats had been encountered during the works’ and has given the go-ahead for HS2 to continue felling well into roosting season, while bats are still nursing their young."
The Bat Conservation Trust said it was investigating reports on disturbance and damage to roosts.
An HS2 spokesperson said that no trees supporting any bat maternity roosts were being felled in the season, adding that all work was carried in accordance with the law.
“By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s fight against climate change,”they said.
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