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Judge grants injunction to block protests on entire HS2 route

Deniz Huseyin
22 September 2022
 

The High Court has granted an injunction which will stop activists carrying out “disruptive protests” on land along the entire route of the planned HS2 rail link.

High Speed Two Limited, backed by the transport secretary, sought the injunction to protect construction works along the first phase of the route from London to the West Midlands.

The injunction prevents anyone from entering or remaining on HS2 land, deliberately obstructing or interfering with vehicles, equipment or people accessing the land, and interfering with any fence or gate at the perimeter.

Several protesters argued at a hearing in May that an injunction would obstruct “peaceful protest against illegal tree-felling and ‘wildlife crimes’”.

But Mr Justice Julian Knowles said that an extensive injunction was necessary in view of the “plain evidence” of protesters’ aims to “continue to protest and disrupt without limit”. 

“I accept that the claimants (HS2 and the secretary of state for transport) have shown that the direct action protests are ongoing and simply move from one location to another, and that the protesters have been and will continue to cause maximum disruption across a large geographical extent,” he said.

A number of protests have taken place along the proposed rail route, including the Wendover Active Resistance (War) camp in Buckinghamshire, which lasted for more than four weeks in October and November 2021 while a network of tunnels under Euston station which were occupied by activists in January and February 2021.

An HS2 spokesperson said: “HS2 Ltd welcomes this judgment and its approval of the route-wide injunction. As Mr Justice Knowles makes clear, this injunction will not, and is not intended to, stop legitimate protest.

“Instead, we hope the injunction will prevent the violence, intimidation, and criminal damage these protests have frequently caused, harming the HS2 project and those working on it, and costing the UK taxpayer millions of pounds.”

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