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Church of England raises concern over graveyard desecration by HS2


HS2 high speed rail line will 'desecrate graveyards' warns Church of England

Archbishop’s Council, one of the Church’s most powerful organisations, demanded “ecclesiastical safeguards” to prevent graves being dug up before work goes ahead

Controversial: An artist's impression of the HS2 line

The Church of England has warned that graveyards will be desecrated by the £43billion HS2 high speed rail link.

The Archbishop’s Council, one of the Church’s most powerful organisations , demanded “ecclesiastical safeguards” to prevent graves being dug up before work goes ahead.

The council, which is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, is fiercely opposed to the line because human remains will not be “treated in a decent and reverent manner”.

And it said the Church cannot back the proposals unless MPs change the law to give greater protection to the graves which would have to be exhumed.

The council wants to avoid a repeat of the excavation of St Pancras Station during the building of the Channel Tunnel rail link, when graves were dug up with JCBs.

Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP and Second Church Estate’s Commissioner, said: “I would hope HS2 will be willing to engage and consider what they can do to mitigate the impact on churchyards and remains they may have to inter.


"It’s a matter of common decency that when people are buried in consecrated ground they expect their remains not to be disturbed except in truly exceptional circumstances.”

The HS2 line will pass through three consecrated burial grounds according to a parliamentary submission by the Archbishop’s Council.

The expansion of Euston Station in North London will require more than 30,000 graves to be exhumed at St James’ Gardens, an 18th-century burial ground.

And the remains of 2,600 people will have to be exhumed from a 12th-century graveyard in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, to make way for the line, along with remains beneath Park Street in Birmingham where a new terminal is being built.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Throughout the development of HS2 , burial grounds have been avoided as far as practicable.

“We understand that the removal of human remains to enable HS2 to progress is a sensitive and emotive issue, which is why this issue is specifically dealt with in the Hybrid Bill and why HS2 Ltd recently published a paper setting out how it would deal with affected burial sites along the route.”

A Church of England spokesman said: ‘”The Church of England is not opposing HS2 per se, rather we are petitioning for a technical change to the Bill.”

 from     http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hs2-high-speed-rail-line-3637989#ixzz33YpNQrHa

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