Part of tunnel at HS2 protest COLLAPSES on bailiff in eviction attempt

Part of tunnel at Euston protest site COLLAPSES on bailiff in latest eviction attempt as HS2 wins court order against activists and says they should quit underground complex IMMEDIATELY

  • Protestors trying to stop plan to replace green space near station with taxi rank
  • They claim passage is crumbling as bailiffs are working to evict them from tunnel
  • It comes as an HS2 wins an injunction against the environmental campaigners
  • After the High Court ruling, HS2 said campaigners should leave ‘immediately’

Part of the underground tunnel at Euston’s HS2 protest has collapsed on a bailiff in the site workers’ latest eviction attempt.

The protesters, who have been underground for more than three weeks, are trying to stop HS2’s plans to replace the green space outside the central London station with a temporary taxi rank.

Hiding in the tunnel, which they dug out beneath Euston Square Gardens, has prevented HS2 from evicting them.

But now the workers are getting closer and the 100-foot passage is starting to crumble, according to the demonstrators. 

It came as HS2 won an injunction against environmental campaigners occupying the site, with the company saying it meant they should leave the underground complex ‘immediately’ or potentially face a fine, up to two years in prison or both. 

A still taken from the footage, which came shortly before the company developing the national high-speed railway announced an injunction was won against the protesters

Part of the tunnel seen in the clip. In the video, Dr Maxey says: ‘There’s been a collapse on one of the bailiffs and so I’ve got two uninvited guests in my home this morning’

HS2 has confirmed to MailOnline that none of the team working on site were injured in the collapse. 

Footage shows bailiffs working to clear the area, while 48-year-old protestor Dr Larch Maxey, who is currently underground, declares: ‘They won’t get me out today.’ 

In the video, Dr Maxey says: ‘There’s been a collapse on one of the bailiffs and so I’ve got two uninvited guests in my home this morning.

‘I’m in the middle of being evicted from my chamber, but they won’t get me out today. They broke in using saws and power tools.

‘It’s really concerning, I’m about to go and talk to them about it.’

He can also be heard saying: ‘We just had a major collapse. I think you should stop this operation because its clearly not planned or safe. We’ve had enough accidents, let’s not have any more.’

Meanwhile, a HS2 Ltd spokesman announced: ‘HS2 has today successfully sought injunctions which apply to the remaining illegal trespassers in crudely constructed tunnels under Euston Square Gardens.

‘Mr Justice Mann recognised that the activists have put themselves and those working to extract them, in ‘grave danger’.  

A still taken from the footage filmed by Dr Larch Maxey (pictured above), 48, who claimed part of the underground tunnel at Euston’s HS2 protest had collapsed on a bailiff

Why is HS2 so controversial? 

 

The Woodland Trust, a conservation charity, calls HS2 ‘a grave threat to the UK’s ancient woods, with 108 at risk of loss or damage’.

But HS2 says only 0.29 square kilometres (0.11 square miles) of ancient woodland will be lost during the first phase. HS2 says it will reduce journey times between London and northern England and add capacity to Britain’s crowded rail network.

Critics question whether HS2 is worth its ballooning price tag – now reported more than £100billion – especially after a pandemic that might permanently change people’s travel habits.

The first phase linking London and Birmingham is due to open between 2029 and 2033, according to HS2 Ltd. 

In September Boris Johnson joined the front line to see work begin on HS2, as shovels hit the ground in Solihull. 

He said the ‘incredible’ scheme, launched in 2009, would deliver not just ‘22,000 jobs now, but tens of thousands more high-skilled jobs in the decades ahead’. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs last year the first trains may not be up and running until 2031. The project has been shrouded in controversy since its birth, with campaigners warning it is ‘decimating countryside and creating a huge financial burden’.

In April wildlife presenter Chris Packham lost a High Court bid to stop ancient woodlands being dug up for the project.

There was also uproar when HS2’s annual report revealed each person working on it was costing the taxpayer almost £100,000 on average. 

It also revealed chief executive Mark Thurston was paid £659,416 last year – four times as much as the PM. More than £3.3million was spent on ‘travel and subsistence’ and £802,000 on recruitment fees.

‘The injunctions sought by HS2 state that the activists illegally occupying the tunnels are forbidden from entering or remaining on the land at Euston Square Gardens.’

A 100ft network of tunnels was discovered on January 26.

It was dug in secret by protesters who object to the redevelopment of Euston Square Gardens as part of the high speed railway line.

Under the ruling the protesters must stop any further tunnelling and also tell HS2, the Health and Safety Executive, London Fire Brigade and the police how many people are in the tunnels, according to HS2.

They must also give details of how many of those who are underground are children and information about the layout, size and engineering used for the tunnels should be handed over, HS2 said.

The campaigners are also being called on to cooperate so they can safely leave the site. 

The HS2 rail project, which is set to link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, and rebalance the UK’s economy, has been called ‘expensive, wasteful and destructive’ by environmentalists.

Anti-HS2 protesters claimed the line will destroy or irreparably damage 108 ancient woodlands and 693 wildlife sites, and that Euston Square Gardens will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold off to developers.

They added that ‘tree protectors’ were prepared to occupy the tunnels, dug ‘in secret’ over the last few months, and would stay underground ‘for as long as it takes to stop HS2’.

A HS2 spokesman earlier said: ‘We urge the occupants of the tunnel to comply with the court order and remove themselves from the tunnel immediately – for their safety, the safety of the other activists and HS2 staff and agents tasked with removing them from the danger in which they have placed themselves.’ 

It follows Swampy’s 16-year-old son, Rory Hooper, being carried out of the anti-HS2 protest tunnels on a stretcher after living in the underground network for 22 days.

When he came out of the tunnel he was pictured being carried away to safety on a stretcher.

The teenager said: ‘After almost three weeks underground I am coming up. This means there will be more food for the others so they can resist for longer. Dad is staying in the tunnel and will hold out for as long as he can. I am looking forward to seeing mum.

‘I have loved digging and being underground and I will continue to protest, HS2 needs to be stopped. Young people like me have to take action to stop the ecocide being committed by projects like HS2 because we’re in an ecological emergency and our future is at stake.

‘Digging a tunnel may seem extreme but maybe it is the only way.’ 

Swampy – real name Daniel Hooper – had come under fire for allowing him to be in the tunnels, which have suffered a number of collapses prior to today’s.  

Enforcement officers at Euston Square Gardens, London, on February 17 after a HS2 protestor left the 100ft tunnel where he had been protesting

An undated handout issued by HS2 Rebellion of the construction of part of the 100ft tunnel network dug under Euston Square Gardens in central London

When Rory Hooper, 16, came out of the tunnel he was put on a stretcher and carried away to safety (pictured)

A rescue expert had warned that heavy rain and sleet could cause tunnels beneath Euston in London to collapse and endanger HS2 activists living in the underground passages. 

The HS2 Rebellion group are protesting at Euston Square Gardens as they believe the small green space will be levelled to make way for a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers. 

As well as staying in tunnels, other campaigners were using trees to protest, although cherry pickers arrived at the weekend to dismantle the structures. 

Bailiffs began evicting anti-HS2 protesters on January 27. The group claimed an ‘illegal eviction’ began shortly before 5am when enforcement officers ‘entered the camp under cover of darkness’.

Construction work started in September on Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Birmingham. Phase 2a is planned to run from Birmingham to Crewe, and Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and from Birmingham to Leeds.

The Government-commissioned Oakervee Review considered a cost estimate for the project by an external consultant that put its final bill at £106.6 billion in fourth quarter of 2015 prices.

The review commissioned a comparative analysis of this estimate and those by HS2 Ltd and said characteristics of major rail infrastructure cost plans, according to evidence from Network Rail, were ‘not evident’ in the external estimate. 

The review said it seemed amounts allocated towards major construction works were too low, and amounts allocated towards rail systems seemed too high.

Despite it running tens of billions of pounds over budget and several years behind schedule, Boris Johnson gave the green light for the railway in February 2020.

Protester Blue Sandford, 18, who said she was prepared to stay in tunnels under Euston Square Gardens ‘for weeks,’ despite warnings that diggers’ lives are at risk

Police leading one HS2 demonstrator away on a stretcher after they protested at Euston Station earlier this month. It came amid a High Court row over whether it was safe to evict tunnelers at the nearby garden protest

Source: Read Full Article