SOS – Extinction Rebellion calls people to protect the water supply of 3.2m Londoners

For enquiries about the Save Colne Valley campaign, contact +44(0)7891909749 or

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NEW – What emergency? https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/the-emergency/  

SOS – Extinction Rebellion calls people to protect the water supply of 3.2m Londoners

London’s water supply is under threat by HS2 engineering plans.

Fresh from the blockades of several high profile locations in London highlighting the climate and ecological emergency, a number of Extinction Rebellion activists will join the campaign at Harvil Road Wildlife Protection Camp (UB9 6JW) to prevent damage to the chalk aquifer south of Harefield. This aquifer provides public drinking water to 3.2 million Affinity Water customers covering areas including Watford, Amersham, Uxbridge and Wembley.

Fellow Londoners and all that care about water are invited to come from today and camp over the weekend in this area of natural beauty as an act of creative nonviolent resistance. At 2pm on Sunday 28 April, local people who have supported the camp for two years, will gather. More information here.

The aim of the creative resistance is to save the trees on Harvil Road and to take action to halt biodiversity loss. HS2 Ltd and London Borough of Hillingdon are planning road closures this weekend (8am to 6pm 27 – 28 April) to fell and chip roadside trees on Harvil Road –  between the Dogs Trust and the Chiltern Line bridge – as they destroy life to clear space for infrastructure construction for HS2.

April Griefsong of Extinction Rebellion said: “By occupying the fields and trees at the Harvil Road Wildlife Protection Camp, rebels have a real opportunity to stand for what matters – protecting underground water reservoirs and ancient trees are essential for a future in these lands. From camping on concrete, blocking roads, to regeneration in London’s green lungs, people will have the opportunity to take local action while reconnecting to the natural beauty of what sustains us. Join us to celebrate all we have achieved so far, as we demonstrate our demand to halt biodiversity loss.”

As part of the project, HS2 plans to flatten parts of Colne Valley Regional Park, a 40 sq mile area of natural beauty which has been protected for years as a regenerative space for London and as a mitigation for the pollution known to be caused by Heathrow Airport.

Extinction Rebellion activists will support local residents, environmentalists, Hillingdon Green Party, Hillingdon Friends of the Earth, Harefield residents and Stop HS2 in their efforts to protect this space from the diggers of HS2. Taking action in accordance with the demand to ‘ACT NOW”, activists will protect the green spaces and trees to ensure that this natural area cannot be destroyed.

Sarah Green of the Save Colne Valley said: “The Government is acting to jeopardise the future of the main water source for fresh drinking water in West London. We the customers must become the custodians in the absence of responsibility by our elected representatives. Pure water supplies for life and a sustainable future are essential. We have to act now.”

Water for London

The Colne Valley chalk aquifer supplies over 1bn litres of water to 3.2m Londoners every day. Under the HS2 plans to drill pile holes deep into the chalk ground there is a high risk of this water supply becoming contaminated by waste from a special landfill site located nearby. This risk was highlighted by Affinity Water, one of London’s main suppliers who draws 60% of its water from the source, in a report to the House of Commons six years ago.

Yesterday, Buckinghamshire County Council’s called for an immediate halt to the destructive activities of HS2. [2]

HS2 plans, biodiversity and pollution

Habitats clearance is happening faster than at any time in history from London to Birmingham. A sacrifice zone is the Mid Colne Valley, West London aka the Green Lungs of London. In the past month 2,000 trees have been destroyed worsening air quality in London and driving climate breakdown.

Future HS2 plans in Colne Valley are to clear the wetland nature reserves and construct power stations, access roads, worksites and to drive hundreds of deep piles into the chalk aquifer across the valley for footings for a 3.4km viaduct.

Pile driving is due to start shortly in a known pollution pathway from New Years Green landfill site, a Special Site of contamination. Campaigners believe this is an illegal activity and not in the Public Interest.

Save Colne Valley campaigners say no water safeguarding permits in place and that in the interest of public health HS2 must be scrapped before more irreversible damage can take place.

Notes to editors

[1] https://www.mix96.co.uk/news/local/2858394/bucks-councils-call-for-hs2-work-to-stop/

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

UK website: https://rebellion.earth/

International website: https://xrebellion.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion; whilst the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

Website http://www.risingup.org.uk/;

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RisingUpUK/;

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