View from the community: We must understand that ‘extinction is forever’

Dorothea Hackman is upset about the felling of Camden's trees.

Dorothea Hackman is upset about the felling of Camden's trees. - Credit: Archant

A major blow to the quality of life in Camden for the residents of Cartmel on the Hampstead Road has been the felling of the 10 trees that have shielded them from the pollution, noise and sight of the traffic on the Hampstead Road.

High Speed Two has cut down these trees to move utilities, the trees were not even in the way of the proposed track, which passes under the Hampstead Road.

There is a lot of similarity with the felling of the North Gower Street tree, the Benedict Cumberbatch tree, so named for the many episodes of Sherlock Holmes in which it appeared, as North Gower street used to stand in for Baker Street. That tree also was not in the way of the track, just in the way of utilities. Probably the last mature plane tree in the area.

There was sawdust filling the air for days on end and the sound of chainsaws late into the night and even on Sundays.

The demolition of Silverdale, Ainsdale, and Eskdale has been awful enough for the neighbouring blocks this last year, and now the “neighbour from hell” as they describe HS2 has taken their trees, leaving just piles of uncovered sawdust where once there were hundred year old trees.

Not only has HS2 failed to install noise insulation in the properties around Euston before imposing these levels of noise on residents, but also Camden Council has not held HS2 to account for breaking this parliamentary assurance, nor even to follow regulations for standards of public safety. Machinery such as the stump grinder was spewing sawdust as children were walking to school on Thursday morning.

The people who have tried to help are HS2 rebellion, an umbrella group of organisations seeking the cancellation of HS2, who have established a camp in Euston Square Gardens East. Boris Johnson told the UN summit on biodiversity last month: “Extinction is forever”, and David Attenborough has reiterated on Netflix “We must immediately halt deforestation everywhere”. So we need to stop cutting down trees, and make sure our MPs support the Climate and Ecological Emergency bill.