Anti-HS2 protesters face eviction from Wendover camp


Anti-HS2 protesters face eviction from Wendover camp

Activists, including veteran Swampy, barricade themselves inside tunnel at site in Buckinghamshire


Sun 10 Oct 2021 16.24 BST

Last modified on Mon 11 Oct 2021 04.37 BST

A group of environmental activists are facing eviction after barricading themselves inside a tunnel to protest against the HS2[3] rail project.

The protesters, who include Dan Hooper, the veteran activist also known as Swampy, are involved in a tunnel protest in Buckinghamshire. Bailiffs began trying to remove the protesters early on Sunday morning but Hooper told the Guardian that the tunnel at the Wendover camp had been robustly constructed over a long period of time.

Hooper is one of six environmental protesters who occupied a tunnel close to Euston station in protest against the HS2 high-speed link earlier this year but walked free from court last week after a judge dismissed charges in connection with the occupation. Satchel, 31, another activist, said: “I’m here because this is more than stopping a train line.

It’s the only effective way I can protest the new draconian police, crime, sentencing and courts bill[4] with anti-trespass laws. This eviction should be a long one, as we aren’t planning on going anywhere soon. It could take them many weeks to remove us all.”

The protesters dispute the wording of the court order granting HS2 permission to carry out the eviction, saying it renders it unlawful.

HS2 also believes the tunnel occupation could be a long one. An advert from King’s Security for bailiffs “to assist with a government project with evictions” states that the job could last five to seven weeks. The Wendover camp was established in January 2020 on council-owned land.

Buckinghamshire county council leased the land to HS2 Ltd. The environmental activists say the construction of the high-speed rail project involves the release of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere as well as destroying huge tracts of ancient woodland. HS2 claims only a small amount of ancient woodland will be destroyed by the project.

A HS2 spokesperson said: “This land is legally owned by HS2 Ltd and needed for the construction of the railway.

We are now working to clear the area so our staff can continue their work.”

The spokesperson said staff had faced physical attacks and abuse leading to a number of people being treated in hospital while working on the Wendover site.

The environmental activists deny involvement in these alleged attacks.

HS2 sources said the dispute over the wording of the possession order for the site relates to a different part of the site, not the area currently being evicted.


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