HS2 bailiffs dig 10ft shaft directly into protester’s tunnel, but activists still refusing to come out

Jamie JohnsonFri, 5 February 2021, 3:20 pm

The scene on Friday at Euston Square Gardens, where six people are still in tunnels they dug 10ft under the ground - Aaron Chown/PA
The scene on Friday at Euston Square Gardens, where six people are still in tunnels they dug 10ft under the ground – Aaron Chown/PA

Bailiffs attempting to remove anti HS2 protesters from clandestine tunnels near Euston station have dug a 10ft shaft directly down into the underground passages, but one activist has put his arm in a steel tube, encased it in concrete and buried it under the soil, frustrating their efforts.

Six members of ‘HS2 Rebellion’ have been living underneath Euston Square Gardens for more than a week, including Blue and Lazer Sandford, the children of a millionaire Scottish Laird.

Lazer, 20, was last night “locked on” to the structure using a 20mm thick steel arm tube running through a wrought iron safe encased in a block of concrete, buried at the bottom of the downshaft.

Another lock-on device is attached to his ankle.

The environmental campaigners are attempting to protect the green space, which they claim will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers as part of plans for the high-speed railway.

Lazer Sandford is "locked on" underground - his hand through a steel tube, in an iron safe, buried in concrete - HS2 Rebellion
Lazer Sandford is “locked on” underground – his hand through a steel tube, in an iron safe, buried in concrete – HS2 Rebellion

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Lazer said: “I’m only doing this because I don’t have a choice.

“I shouldn’t have to, but we are now in a total emergency. The lives of people in my generation are being risked by carbon-guzzling vanity projects like HS2.

“HS2 uses huge amounts of high carbon steel and concrete and it will only make the climate emergency worse.”

Activists in the tunnels include veteran environmental campaigner Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, and his son Rory.

On Friday, staff could be seen removing buckets of mud from the tunnel while several police officers remained around the perimeter of the site.

Earlier this week a High Court judge rejected a legal bid to halt efforts to evict them.

Mr Justice Robin Knowles refused an application brought by Dr Maxey for an injunction requiring HS2 and others to cease operations.

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “The safety of those trespassing and that of the HS2 staff and emergency service personnel in this operation is of paramount importance.

“We are doing all we can to end this illegal action safely, and progress has been made with access secured to the underground tunnel.

“We urge Dr Maxey to comply with the order as soon as possible – for his safety and the safety of the other activists and the HS2 staff and agents tasked with removing them from the danger they have put themselves in.”

Confined space rescue specialist Peter Faulding estimated the eviction could end up costing “around the region of three or four million pounds”.

Mr Faulding, founder of Specialist Group International and an expert witness for the protesters’ legal team, told Sky News on Friday that HS2 risked “massive reputational damage” over how the eviction was handled.

“They’ve gone in unprepared and people’s lives are being put at risk,” he said.

“There’s a very high chance that someone is going to get seriously injured here.”