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HS2 accused of ‘illegally’ evicting activists from protest camp

CLIMATE activists accused HS2 of launching an “illegal” eviction today against a protest camp which has been blocking construction of the train line through the Chilterns. 

About 100 bailiffs, HS2 security and a tunnel removal team moved in to evict Wendover Active Resistance (WAR) camp on Road Barn farm, Wendover, at 6am on Sunday morning. 

The site, set up in January 2020, is the last major protection camp standing in the way the high-speed rail’s route through the Chilterns area. 

To evict it, bailiffs will need to remove protesters from tunnels, tree houses, a cage and a 15-metre-high tower, campaigners said.

Prominent climate activist Dan Hooper, aka Swampy, is among those occupying the tunnels. 

He said: “Stop HS2 now before it’s too late. The team has been preparing for this moment over the past two years, this is going to be a long eviction!” 

HS2 Rebellion claims the removal operation is unlawful and that a possession order lodged by HS2 Ltd on October 7 contained “factual errors.” 

An activist known as Beaver said HS2 Ltd and bailiff firm the National Eviction Team had ignored warnings that its eviction order was “invalid.” 

Officers from Thames Valley Police were also in attendance today. A spokesperson said officers were present to “prevent any breach of the peace, support lawful business activity and facilitate peaceful protest.”

The removal comes a month after the camp was handed an eviction order on September 10, on the basis that activists had acted violently towards HS2 employees. 

Activists built the camp on land owned by Buckinghamshire County Council meaning they were initially safe from eviction by HS2, which owns the surrounding area. 

But earlier this year, the activists’ stronghold was put in jeopardy after HS2 convinced the council to lease them the land to evict the camp. The council agreed to hand over the plot after HS2 accused activists of violent and threatening behaviour towards its staff.

WAR camp activists say these allegations are “falsehoods and fantasies,” arguing that campaigners are the ones who have been subjected to violence by HS2 staff. 

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

“The inhabitants of this camp have spent the past year subjecting our staff to a campaign of physical attacks and abuse which has led to a number of people being hospitalised. We are now working to clear the area so our staff can continue their work.”

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