The Role of Arts in the Ongoing HS2 Protests

HS2, the transport industries biggest project yet. How is the promise of integrating the arts concealing a deeper threat, and how are protesters using art to fight against destruction?

by Kitty Atherton | 06 December 2020

H2O Protest Poster

In 2015 a projected £52 billion was the estimated cost for the High Speed Two project, connecting London to Birmingham. Latest figures estimate the project has cost over double this prediction. With costs ever rising, it is likely to become the most expensive railway on earth. The project will be completed in two phases, with phase one estimated to be completed between 2028 and 2031, and phase two due to be completed between 2035 and 2040. The question is, can our environment endure such prolonged and extensive building work? The answer is, ultimately, no. Forcing its way through 130 protected wildlife sites including 10 sites of special scientific interest, HS2 advertises itself as an attempt to aid the economic positions of the north in the immediate future, yet is it inhibiting scientific surveillance, and attempts to save our earth in centuries to come?

Whilst attempts have been made to assess lower-speed transport alternatives, allowing engineers to include more bends and less tunnels, avoiding the destruction of the natural landscape, we once again have to rel