Stop HS2: Four evicted from HS2 protest camp but Swampy remains

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Evictions underway at a camp set up by anti-HS2 protesters in Buckinghamshire.

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The Wendover Active Resistance (WAR) camp by the A413 London Road in Wendover was set up by activists in January 2020 to protest the development of Britain’s second dedicated high-speed railway.

They have dug an extensive underground tunnel at the site. A spokesman said on Monday that four had been evicted so far, while a fifth had left voluntarily.

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Among those still in the tunnel is activist Dan Hooper, 48, also known as ‘Swampy’.

He is one of six HS2 rebellion protesters who recently walked away from court after facing heightened trespass charges for digging and occupying tunnels under Euston Square in London, which cost HS2 an additional £ is 3.5m.

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He said the evictions have been “quite cold” so far, telling the PA: “The bailiffs came too early and tried to break into the tower but then realized it was dangerous to do so.”

He said: “We have a good relationship with the tunnel eviction team. We’re basically digging while we still got the top ground.”

He predicted that the evictions would end before Christmas, but said it would not happen sooner.

He added: “A bailiff keeps joking about us being there at Christmas, but I think they’ll probably kick us out before Christmas.

“If it wasn’t for Christmas, I probably would have had a lot of trouble with my family.

“I think we can be here for a long time. It’s definitely not going to happen soon.”

An HS2 spokesperson said: “HS2 has the legal right to take possession of this land which is essential for the safe construction of the railways.

“We are currently working to safely remove several illegal trespassers who have put themselves in a dangerous situation.

“Their irresponsible actions are wasting public money, putting our employees at risk and putting unnecessary pressure on emergency services.

“Building HS2 is playing a key role in the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19, with over 20,000 people already working on the project and supporting thousands of additional jobs through our supply chain.

“We urge everyone who cares about our natural environment to support a project that is providing work across the UK today, and in the future to move people by cars, by planes and by low-carbon rail. Will take you on a journey.”

A report published last month by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), found that investing in HS2 is worse value for money than improving the UK’s existing railway network.

According to the study, for every £1 spent on British railways, £2.50 is generated for the broader economy.

This compares with an estimated return of between £1.30 and £1.50 for every pound invested in HS2, further to a government paper published by Doug Okervy.

However, Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, called the estimates “notoriously speculative”.

In a statement, he said: “The calculation of the amount of specific schemes to be paid over time is notoriously speculative, but upon a comprehensive assessment of the economic benefits, improvements in regional links – particularly from east to west such as Leeds, Manchester And between Liverpool – likely to make the biggest difference.”

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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