Article - High Court Injuction

September 07, 2018

As you may be aware HS2 began works on their controversial project at Harvil Road North entrance in October 2017. The felling of hundreds of trees caught the attention of concerned local people who gained access to the land and captured footage of wildlife crimes taking place. Bats were seen to be flying overhead where tree felling was occurring, trees which may have been home to their bat roosts. This marked the beginning of the Wildlife Protection Camp on Harvil Road that has since been collecting and recording evidence of HS2’s detrimental environmental impact and holding them to account. 
Protesters have since argued that HS2 have not provided the correct ecological surveys for the current works. Is it possible that enabling works onto ancient irreplaceable woodland are allowed to take place without correct surveys or mitigation? Are UK environmental laws so weak? HS2 have stated their obligation to protect the flora or fauna if required to do so but are they looking to find it? Quite on the contrary they have been tearing the evidence down behind them. 
As construction continues, information to keep the Public informed is becoming more inaccessible. If you have ever tried to obtain any answers at the HS2 Help Desk good luck. It is this frustration that has been key in leading people to use peaceful direct action as a last resort. Protesters have been trying to halt the destruction because HS2 have failed to produce the proper planning permissions and the correct ecological surveys. Unfortunately after managing to attract the attention of HS2 bosses Protesters found they were not interested in providing any answers but attempted to silence them through legal action.
On Monday the 19th of February the Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 Ltd took 8 defendants to the High Court to serve an injunction preventing trespass and obstruction to vehicles. Many believe that the injunction was a cover to remove the camp from its current location as activities to capture environmental breeches were a thorn in HS2’s side. Or was it simply because active protesting is a continuing embarrassment to HS2 as it celebrates much public support from its prime location on the busy Harvil Road. Despite the injunction being awarded the Judge Mr Justice Barling praised the camps efforts as committed environmentalists deeming their actions as entirely laudable and saw fit to safeguard the camp from eviction through the order.
Despite the positive reassurances from the Judge the service of the injunction raises two major concerns. HS2 remains a hugely unpopular project which the public has been fighting though democratic means over many years. When that voice has remained unheard because it seems that government and multinationals have conspired together to push this project into force, what choice is left but to take direct action? To remove this last hope to make governments listen and instead to persecute, threaten bankruptcy and attempt to criminalise those who fight for social justice is clearly wrong.
Secondly now that the injunction is in place, HS2 have essentially secured themselves the rights to continue working safe in the knowledge that any wildlife breeches can go unchecked. It was raised in court that an independently appointed Wildlife Officer should be put in place to provide the necessary protection, however the Judge did not have the powers to grant that request. The power is now in the hands of the rich corporations who have essentially bought a law securing them secrecy and unaccountability.
To find a copy of the injunction, a trip down Harvil road will reveal the notices attached to fences, gates and various fields earmarked for development. Or further information can be found at;
The Wildlife Protection Camp now plans to tackle HS2 at the root of the problem, local government. With 4 of its residents running for council on the 3rd of May they have hopes to bring a more fair and balanced view into the decision making for the local area.

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