I made the mistake last night of looking at the comments on an official HS2 post on Facebook.
The post was an attempt to convince us that carving bloody great scars out of an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty was a good thing and was being done “responsibly”. It’s a bit like the hoardings that they have put up around their worksites that are decorated with images of woodland and wildlife. Forget the art work, give us back the real thing!
In the midst of the resulting, and predictable, anti HS2 vitriol there was a long, and frankly patronising, comment from a senior engineer working on the project accusing naysayers of being ignorant and uneducated about “the facts”.
His facts are on paper, based on an imaginary future, abstract and of the intellect. Our facts are ancient woodlands that are no longer there, gentle hills whose shape was determined during the ice age that are currently raw and bleeding and that at best will look like reclaimed spoil heaps in the future.
Facts are slippery things and too often the chosen weapons of bullies.
4 thoughts on “Facts”
‘Responsibly’ was doing a lot of heavy lifting, there. This reminds me of 45’s love for ‘good, clean, coal’. They say what they want to, no-one holds them to account.
I was living in Kent during the building of HS1 at the time many were complaining about the concreting of the Garden of England as at the same time we had the completion of the London Orbital Motorway and M20. The children of those people how enjoy an uplift in railway services as other train lines have been upgraded and the better connections has seen an above average rise in house prices they are no longer concerned about the Garden of England and a number of farms that I knew in my youth are no longer producing the food that they did.
To some this has been seen as progress to others it means that the landscape has been changed in a way that means that it is no longer visually pleasing. During my 20 plus years living on the edge of the Chilterns I note that what were farms are now spaces for horses and that has changed what we are seeing. Going in to the woodland it has been a miracle of nature that the trees are grown in straight lines and that most of the trees are of a similar age which did not seem to go back as far as the Victorian towns brought by the building of railways and that they were predominately of a few species rather than a diverse mix.
There are few landscapes that have escaped the hand of man but our ability to inflict damage has increased along with our appetite for more, bigger, faster.