At 4.30am Monday morning, fifty ‘storm troopers’ (NET) stormed Denham Ford Protection Camp, anti-HS2 activists at the camp eviction say “we will continue to resist”.
Denham Country Park, Denham, Uxbridge, UB9 5PG
Anti-HS2 activists are resisting an illegal eviction of Denham Ford Protection Camp in Uxbridge, London.
The protestors, who are locked-on up ancient trees and tower structures, say that the series of recent illegal evictions are an attack on their democratic human rights to peacefully protest HS2.
Denham camp is one of the largest and oldest resistant camp’s left disrupting HS2, which is building a temporary road and bridge in order to move four pylons closer to the train line.
Activists and ecologists claim that the chosen route, and the HS2 railway itself, are unjustified given the threat they pose to the local ecosystem and life.
The woodland which HS2 has been felling ancient trees in and plans on was and is home to 16 of the 17 UK legally protected bat species including Barbastelle bats.
Activists have witnessed countless wildlife crimes at Denham including HS2 ecologists stuffing bat holes in trees with newspapers and foam in order to prevent these protected bats from returning home to roost.
Denham Ford Protection Camp has existed since April 2020 and has been resisting deforestation and wildlife crimes for the construction of a temporary access road as part of the HS2 project.
The original HS2 plan for the temporary road was set to go through the neighbouring golf course; the ancient oak woodland in the public park was the chosen route by HS2 instead.
This eviction comes at a pivotal time after the second reading last week in parliament of the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Several human and protest rights organisations, such as Netpol, have stated that the Bill is “draconian” and represents a “new crackdown on freedom to protest”. This also follows in the wake of violent police suppression of a vigil held for Sarah Everard in Clapham on Saturday 13 March, which has sparked outrage about the government’s heavy-handed policing approach to protest.
HS2 works in the Colne Valley region have been shown to cause contamination to aquifers that provide drinking water to over 3 million Londoners. The woodland in denham in which HS2 has been felling ancient trees and plans on more is also home to 16 of the 17 UK legally protected bat species like barbastelle bats, muntjac deer, tawny owls, badgers, protected water voles and a variety of rare insect life.
Activists have witnessed first hand and have video evidence of HS2 ecologists stuffing bat holes in trees with newspapers and filling them with foam in order to prevent these protected bats from returning home to roost, before later felling these trees at Denham. HS2 have done this work without first gaining the relevant bat license required from Natural England, again working outside of the law. This eviction comes at the start of spring which is also the nesting season, the law of birds nesting season requires that a pre-work survey be conducted by professional contractors. It remains greatly unknown as to when HS2 will be made to answer for these crimes that have and continue to be committed up and down the proposed HS2 line.
‘Bradley’, (They, them), 16, currently in ‘Gwyneth’ – one of the oldest and tallest ancient oak tree’s at Denham, “Part of the reason I’m here is because obviously the wider view of the fact that this is the UK government’s response to the climate and ecological emergency, when we are heading into the sixth mass extinction. They say they are planting trees as a solution to the ‘CEE’, when they should be just not cutting these trees down in the first place.
At all of the occupations that we’ve set up, there are always small animals like worms, birds, protected badgers, and bats that are living in the ancient woodlands, and they don’t really know what’s happening or about to happen to their homes, so I find it quite grounding to remember them and know that we are also doing it to help protect their homes.”
Denham Ford Protection Camp has been the site of several high profile direct actions.
In November 2020, veteran activist Swampy directly blocked the installation of a temporary bridge, which would lead to the neighbouring HS2 compound, by occupying a bamboo “Beacon of Truth” structure in the River Colne.
Battle of the Bridge: https://vimeo.com/user74680141
In July 2020, during the famous ‘Battle of the Alder Tree’ – ‘Lazer’ and ‘Swan’ had their lives nearly ended by the Thames Valley Police Hights team and HS2, when they had their safety lines cut. On the first day HS2/NET cut Lazer’s line and on the second day Thames Valley Police Heights Team cut Swan’s line (after 13 hours) whilst suspended over the river, causing them both to fall 25ft.
Now, despite a spate of recent illegal evictions, the activists grow increasingly passionate in their opposition to HS2’s ecological destruction, by which the company’s own admission states it will not be carbon-neutral in the project’s 120-year lifetime.
One of the camp members said, “The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has sparked fierce concerns over our right to protest. We stand in solidarity with all those who are resisting these draconian laws, especially those currently protesting against patriarchal violence and face the kind of police suppression that this Bill will only intensify.”
K-Dog, an autonomous anti-HS2 activist, said, “We boldly stand against the government’s stripping of our basic democratic rights to protest, all whilst they refuse to take action to mitigate the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Public resistance will only grow stronger, as we will continue to challenge HS2’s ecological destruction.”
Contact: Swan 07459737446
Bradley – up the tree, 07963328607
K-Dog – on the ground, 07928571399