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Statement from HS2 Ltd

HS2 has now successfully taken full possession of Euston Square Gardens removing all nine illegal trespassers in the underground tunnels safely. From the outset HS2 staff, our agents and the emergency service personnel have acted with safety as their utmost priority, risking their own lives in order to ensure the well-being of those who placed themselves in such a dangerous situation underground.

HS2 accepts the right to peaceful protest, but when the UK is dealing with the pandemic, the actions of these individuals has put additional pressure on public services, including the NHS, Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade. Additionally, HS2 staff and our agents were subject to numerous incidences of violence and criminal activity during this operation, including alleged theft and assault.

The case for HS2 – more capacity on our railways, better connectivity in the Midlands and North, and cutting carbon in transport - all remain important issues for the UK. Crucially, HS2 is already playing a pivotal role in helping Britain’s post-pandemic economic recovery. There are 15,000 people already working on the project, with tens of thousands of additional jobs supported through our supply chain.

Instead of wasting public resources on illegal actions, we urge environmental organisations to support a project that will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s fight against climate change.


Notes to Editors

 Whilst this incident has been resolved, the HS2 project has continued, with Royal Assent democratically given for the Act approving the extension of the new high speed line between the West Midlands and Crewe. See more here: https://mediacentre.hs2.org.uk/news/hs2-accelerates-north-as-mps-give-go-ahead-to-next-phase-to-crewe

Construction work is advancing on over 250 sites between London and the West Midlands and has not been impacted by this illegal activity.

 HS2 is creating 33 square kilometres of new woodland and wildlife habitat - an area over 7 times bigger than Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve, and an increase of around 30% compared to what is there now. When you compare this with the 0.39 square kilometres of ancient woodland lost between London and Crewe - this puts the scale of our environment programme into perspective.

Our published assessments are that 43 of the country’s 52,000 ancient woodlands will be affected by HS2’s route between London and Crewe, with 80% of the total area of these remaining intact and untouched by HS2, meaning just 0.005% of ancient woodland will be lost, a fraction of comparable road projects.

Where an ancient woodland is described as affected, in many cases this means a very small section of an overall woodland is affected. For example, on Phase One, 32 ancient woodlands are described as affected but in 19 of these the total area of loss is less than 1 hectare.

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