Save Rudolph . . . ‘Sleigh’ HS2. Petition is launched

West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour has launched a petition calling for Government intervention to prevent the largest herd of reindeer outside Scandinavia from being culled.

The ‘Save Rudolph – Sleigh HS2’ campaign is a bid to prevent Blithbury Lodge in Staffordshire from being decimated by the high-speed rail line.

Owner Stephen Swinnerton has a herd of 200 reindeer on his 30-acre site near Rugeley, but says closure would be his only option if HS2 presses ahead with plans to take space in five of his fields.

Mrs Seymour, who is UKIP’s national transport spokesman, visited the site to see for herself how part of Mr Swinnerton’s land is due to be turned into a car park.

She said: “The farm which he has built up over 10 years will be damaged beyond repair – just to provide a proposed trackway and turning area.

“The HS2 team are always telling us they have the interests of people along the proposed route of the line at heart.

“If this is true, then they will prove it by moving their proposed building site a few hundred yards, away from the reindeer farm onto nearby arable land, which will cause much less disruption and heartache.

“If they refuse, then Rudolph, along with his 200 friends and relatives, will have to be culled to make way for this building site, because it will wreck the habitat they require.

“I’m calling on Theresa May and her Government to do the sensible and compassionate thing by instructing HS2 Ltd to move the disruption and building site away from the Blithbury Reindeer Lodge.”

As well as working through the Christmas season, the reindeer are also taken into schools, hospitals and hospices.

Mr Swinnerton said he would be ‘finished’ if HS2 does not reconsider, and said the herd would probably have to be culled. “It’s HS2 and the Government who would have their blood on their hands,” he said.

The petition can be found by clicking here