This morning the London end of the ongoing direct action campaign against HS2 received some unwelcome visitors in the form of around a hundred cops, bailiffs and private security guards.
The HS2 rail project has to be the most unpopular project in the history of transport infrastructure. So far the planned high-speed rail link has managed to go over budget by a modest sixty-one billion pounds and scientific studies have concluded that its construction alone will ensure that it will eventually offer no net reduction in carbon emissions. But will increase noise pollution and decrease air quality for well over twenty-one thousand dwellings along its route.
On top of this the project will ensure the demolition of literally hundreds of homes, the destruction or damage to one hundred and eight ancient woodlands along with the eradication of twenty one designated nature reserves.
So it is perhaps unsurprising that every stage of the construction, which began last year. Is being rigorously opposed by environmental activists, with an ongoing campaign of direct action.
In London the battle lines have been drawn at Euston station where several trees planted in Victorian times to improve local air quality (oh the irony) are due to be felled to make way for the project. Activists have been camped out in Euston square for some time to resist the developers.
Yesterday it became known that along with many treetop dwellings they have dug a long tunnel underneath the site to delay the work as much as possible. Allowing the BBC to film inside turned out to be a bad decision as our national broadcaster employed their trademark backstabbing to break a promise not to talk about the tunnel until the eviction began.
However when the heavies arrived this morning the protestors were ready and at least four of them disappeared underground with a considerable amount of food and water. This eviction is looking like it will take a lot longer than HS2 and their contractors expected.
Those who were thrown out of the square immediately busied themselves with occupying cherry pickers that were being brought in for the eviction to slow down the process yet further. Euston road was also blocked for a short time when someone climbed onto a lorry.
As this piece goes to press most of the tree houses remain occupied with their inhabitants locked in for the long haul. One of them is over seventy feet above the ground. How long the subterranean crew will hold out is unclear. Back in the nineties such occupations could go on for weeks and some of those involved are veterans of those battles.
The total route of HS2 stretches for three hundred and thirty miles. Even before today the security bill was running into tens of millions and this project has barely started. The opposition to this loathsome catalog of waste and environmental barbarity can only get stronger.
Images and photos: Guy Smallman