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ACTIVISTS arrested for protesting against the HS2 rail development began their legal battle at Uxbridge magistrates’ court today.
At the hearing the two defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges of aggravated trespass against them.
The pair, who were arrested in December, are demanding safeguarding information and calling for an impact assessment of the high-speed rail development, which will run through a nature reserve at Newyears Green, Hillingdon.
Activists argue that the construction programme will also pollute local drinking water.
The rail project aims to link London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester with high-speed services.
Supporters gathered outside of the court to show solidarity with the activists.
One of the defendants, Sarah Green, told the Star that campaigners had been asking questions but not receiving any response from the project or the council.
“The charge is saying that we trespassed and prevented legal activity,” she said. “But we challenge that as this can’t be legal if there are no safeguarding measures in place.”
Campaigners have occupied a camp on Harvil Road leading to the reserves since October 2017.
Green Party co-leader John Bartley has shown support for the protesters by visiting the camp. A party Twitter account also tweeted that the defendants were “heroes, not criminals.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said that the high-speed railway line “will bring tens of billions of pounds worth of benefits to passengers, suppliers and to local communities.”
Despite opposition from her own MPs, Ms May has insisted the HS2 project is already spreading prosperity, encouraging investment and rebalancing the economy.
The trial continues.
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