Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Kenilworth Action Group vs Philip Hammond

Protesters: Kenilworth Action Group and other local groups
Target: Transport Secretary Philip Hammond
Location: Coventry
Date: 22 September

- The lowdown

Protesters confronted Hammond when the minister visited Coventry to promote the proposed £20bn high-speed rail link, HS2, that will pass through the region. The campaigners brandished placards that read 'HS2 No! Minister'. Protesters were from action groups representing local towns and villages.

- Why the protests?

The protesters disliked the idea of having bullet trains near their homes. Kenilworth Action Group chairman Joe Rukin called the plans 'a complete waste of time', while others dismissed Hammond's arguments as 'ludicrous' and 'waffle'.

- How did Hammond respond?

Hammond said that he did understand the impact it would have on local communities, but would have to weigh this against the national impact. He added: 'I don't want to see one inch of countryside unnecessarily eaten up, but we cannot start by saying there is an absolute prohibition on improving infrastructure by building in the countryside.'

- Media treatment

The story was covered by The Leamington Observer, Coventry Telegraph and rail industry publication Rail News. The Coventry Telegraph led with headline 'Minister leaves high-speed train protesters with little hope'.

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