Campaigners who object to plans for a new high speed rail link on environmental grounds are talking "b*******" and only really care about their house prices, according to Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Johnson claims that protesters "pretend" they are campaigning about woodland or wildlife but they are much more "furious" about the impact HS2 proposals are having on property values.
He suggested the Government should buy up the houses of the scheme's opponents for "top dollar", then when the rail link is finished, capitalise on any boost to local economies by selling them off for a profit.
Mr Johnson told Total Politics magazine: "People are in the humiliating position of having to pretend that there's some environmental objection that they have, that the great crested grebe is going to be invaded or whatever."
"What they care about is their house prices. It's tragic we have protest groups talking about 'this ancient woodland' when actually there's no tree in this country that's more than 200 years old.
"It's b*******. They're not campaigning for forests, they're not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be obviously, but what they're really furious about is that their house prices are getting it."