A DOWNTON Abbey star has taken to Warwickshire’s waterways to highlight his opposition to HS2.
Actor Peter Egan, who played the Marquess of Flintshire in the hit show, spent a recent Sunday morning on the Grand Union Canal.
The 72-year-old conservationist fears the wildlife and its natural habitat is set to be damaged ‘beyond repair’ by the high speed line.
Mr Egan said: “It was terrific to take a trip on the Grand Union Canal. Sunday morning was a perfect time to visit this extraordinary waterway, to have a quiet view of the scenery and experience the wonderful sense of peace you get.
“This area of amazing and beautiful wildlife is going to be affected so detrimentally by the HS2 rail from London to Birmingham.
“To just experience this area of natural beauty and see how this development will so devastatingly affect it is deeply depressing. To save 20 minutes of a journey is not worth it.”
Previous protests have seen mum and son Gerry and Matt and Bishop walking from Cubbington to London, while Kenilworth schoolboy Alex Rukin has petitioned parliament over funding for the project.
Mr Egan added: “Permission has not been granted for the project and yet preparations are ongoing, with little consideration to the protests being made by the local community.
“It seems to me the corporate mindset behind the HS2 project has got to address the concerns of individuals, who care about bio diversity, who care about our wildlife and its natural habitat, who care about not only our own health but the health of our planet. These voices must be listened to, and the concerns expressed to protect the waterlands and natural filtration system which, as I understand it, will be damaged beyond repair by HS2.
“I know commuting is a dreadful consumer of people’s lives, but is it really worth the price this wonderful area of natural beauty will pay for such a saving?”
But HS2 Ltd argue it is making up for the loss of wildlife habitats by creating green corridors along the 190km route.
A spokesman said: “Britain’s new high speed railway will transform rail travel in the UK, give passengers thousands of extra seats every day and take cars and freight off our busy roads.
“We are well advanced with the creation of a green corridor along the route of HS2, and so far 350,000 new trees have been planted and 26 areas of new habitat created for wildlife. New and existing wildlife habitat equating to an area the size of 4,600 football pitches will be created. That’s an increase of around 30 per cent compared to what’s there now.
“We aim for HS2 to be the world’s most sustainable high speed railway, and will support government’s commitment to making Britain net-zero in carbon emission by 2050.”