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Deadline for petitions against HS2 project

Local authorities and businesses in the Capital affected by the first phase of the HS2 high speed rail project must submit their petitions to parliament today.

Petitions on phase one of the proposals from London to the West Midlands are due to be put before a parliamentary committee of six MPs to consider.

Individuals and other petitioners have until May 23 to submit their petitions.

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Calls to make HS2 less of an 'eyesore'

Many campaign groups want HS2 scrapped completely. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Green campaigners are calling for a more ambitious landscaping strategy to prevent HS2 becoming "an eyesore for generations to come".

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said HS2 Ltd's mitigation strategy includes planting up to two million trees, many of them fast-growing, to hide the London to Birmingham high-speed line.

But CPRE added that maps it had produced showed that "along most of the route, the area where you can see HS2 will be just as extensive 15 years after opening."

The CPRE wants to see a more extensive planting strategies and the putting under ground of nearby electricity transmission lines.

Stop HS2 campaigners protest outside parliament

Supporters of the Stop HS2 campaign gathered outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the second reading of the High Speed Rail Bill later today.

The protest comes amid suggestions senior Tories will rebel against proposals to build the high-speed rail link over environmental and economic concerns.

A 'Stop HS2' demonstration took place outside parliament today. Credit: ITV News
The full HS2 link between London, the Midlands and the North of England is expected to cost £42.6 billion. Credit: ITV News
David Cameron has said he expected a big Commons majority in favour of HS2. Credit: ITV News

Natures stands 'to lose if HS2 goes ahead'

Wildlife Trusts in England are calling on the government to do more to mitigate the environmental impact of the proposed high speed two railway line.

Currently, people and nature stand to lose if HS2 goes ahead which is why our opposition to the proposed route for HS2 remains. Like other affected groups we will be petitioning against it.

The Government needs to act now to set out an ambitious plan for restoring nature along the length of the route, if construction goes ahead, otherwise the environmental impacts will not be satisfactorily mitigated.

The greener vision for HS2 that we have published today shows that it would be feasible to create around 15,000 hectares of new, interlinked wild places established along the entire length of the route that people can walk, cycle through and enjoy, ultimately providing a 'net gain' for wildlife.

– Stephen Trotter, Wildlife Trusts

Tory vice-chair sacked over HS2 comments

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has been sacked as the party vice-chairman after his outspoken criticism of the HS2 rail link.

Fabricant claimed on Twitter that he was asked to reign but refused, and was then sacked over the comments along with those he made about former Culture Secretary Maria Miller's resignation.

The MP is set to lead a Tory revolt against the £50 billion HS2 rail scheme later this month, calling for legislation paving the way for the London-Birmingham link to be denied a second reading.

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Transport Sec hopes compensation will ease concerns

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said he hopes a package of compensation will ease the concerns of those living near the planned route of the HS2 rail scheme.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. Credit: PA Wire

“I completely understand the concerns and anxieties of those living near the line and it is only right that those people are properly looked after," Mr McLoughlin said as the compensation scheme was announced.

“I believe this package of compensation and assistance will enable us to help people more. But I want to get it absolutely right, so I am asking for further views on some aspects before we finalise the plans.

“HS2 will transform many people’s lives for the better, but where its impacts are less positive we will do all we can to provide the right help and assistance.”

Resident attacks 'grossly unfair' HS2 compensation

The Government's HS2 compensation scheme has been attacked by people living along the route who claim their homes and lives have been blighted.

Thousands of west London residents living above a tunnel where trains will travel at 225 mph have been told they will receive nothing.

Campaigner Lottie Jones of Ruislip Anti HS2 said her home was now impossible to sell.

Lottie Jones said the compensation scheme was 'grossly unfair'. Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

"I think it's grossly unfair we are being discriminated against in urban areas as opposed to rural areas. There should be no difference in how the blight is recognised above tunnels," she added.

"Just because we've got tunnelling here doesn't mean we won't be disrupted and our lives won't be affected by HS2.

"Our houses are very much blighted and have been for three-and-a-half years, decreasing in value and they're nigh on impossible to sell."

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