This morning at 5:30 am around 40 National Eviction Team officers, working on behalf of the government’s HS2 project and supported by around 20 police officers entered Jones’ Hill Wood, Wendover Valley, Buckinghamshire (HP22 6PT). The clear intention was to clear the protest camp.
Whilst two protesters were removed quickly by the use of excessive force, there are currently around fifteen protesters occupying multiple tree-houses across the site. This ancient woodland has been the site of a protest camp for around seven months, and is included in the list of 20 ancient woodlands that HS2 have highlighted for demolition throughout October.
This woodland represents just one of 108 woodlands that are due to be destroyed during phase one construction of the High Speed Rail Project. Jones’ Hill Wood also represents the cultural loss that will be caused by this large scale industrial development. This beautiful and unique habitat was the inspiration for Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, and is a thriving ecosystem.
The protectors who have been living here have been carrying out ecological surveys and recording the diversity that is now under immediate threat. This includes 43 species of moth, seven species of bat including rare and protected roosts, at least three families of badgers, one active fox den and countless species of insects and pollinators essential to the survival of an already dwindling countryside.
There are currently multiple chainsaws cutting their way into the woodland, destroying the delicate habitat, in order for eviction officers to make their way to the tree houses. Despite this protestors have vowed to stay in their trees indefinitely, in order to highlight the many issues with HS2.
Ross Monaghan, currently sixty feet in the trees says, “The destruction I am witnessing right below me flies in the face of Boris Johnston’s pledge to save our countryside. We have an opportunity in the current climate and pandemic to press pause, to look at the out of control spending, to redirect the funds to where it is needed!”
Steve Masters, West Berkshire Councillor, who has been living in a treehouse and is continuing to uphold his duties, from sixty feet in the air said: “I am a public official and I have followed a path of public service throughout my life. This began 34 years ago when I joined the Royal Air Force. I swore to protect my fellow citizens then and now as we face the greatest challenge in climate change I am duty bound to continue to protect the people of this country and the world. I am willing to be arrested and ultimately imprisoned in order to highlight the catastrophic damage HS2 will do to our natural environment. Our Prime Minister pledged to protect the biodiversity of the planet while at the same time continuing to support this destructive and unnecessary rail link. As the chainsaws whine around me this morning I am resolute and determined to fight for a future fit for my grandchildren.”
More information to follow.
Photo credit – Ross Monaghan