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HS2 protest camp reclaimed by climate activists

CLIMATE activists have reclaimed a high speed rail (HS2) protest camp site in west London, a week after bailiffs kicked them out. 

Thirty people retook the camp on Saturday at the Harvil Road site, in the London borough of Hillingdon, while hundreds joined Extinction Rebellion (XR)’s “day of action.” 

Activists are hoping to deter government plans to fell thousands of trees in the Colne Valley, which is home to many species of plants and animals. 

About 4,000 trees have already been cut down to make way for the government’s huge rail project, XR claimed, while 28,000 are marked for felling. 

The activists have hailed the weekend’s action, claiming that planned tree felling had been thwarted thanks to their presence. 

Environmental and community campaigner Pete Phoenix said: “It’s been an epic day of action — really inspiring and great for the people who have been holding these camps for years to see a hundred people turn up and take direct action.”

An HS2 spokesperson claimed that no tree felling had been scheduled over the weekend. 

Sections of the camps along the Harvil Road had been evicted earlier this month by HS2 bailiffs without a High Court order, which XR claims is illegal. 

HS2 disputes this, saying that the land is “legally possessed by HS2.”

“Protests such as this are costly to the taxpayer and are a threat to the security and safety of the public and our workers,” an HS2 spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, the Wildlife Trust published a new report that claimed HS2 will destroy and divide “huge swathes” of “irreplaceable” natural habitats, including 108 ancient woodlands.

The organisation urged the government to “stop and rethink” the project, the overall cost of which is estimated at £88 billion.

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