Protesters who occupied underground tunnels in north London said they have “won the argument” on HS2 amid speculation the high-speed railway might never reach the area.
HS2 Rebellion said all the justifications for the project “have gone out the window” following reports the Euston route could be axed because of rising costs.
Activists from the group Daniel Hooper, also known as Swampy, Dr Larch Maxey, Isla Sandford, Lachlan Sandford, Juliett Stevenson-Clarke and Scott Breen were involved in protest action at Euston Square Gardens to halt the project in January 2021.
“Gonna get scrapped”
Dr Maxey told the PA news agency: “It’s been clear to me for a couple of years now that HS2 is gonna get scrapped – our job as protesters is to bring forward the inevitable date when it does by helping to shine a light on it.
“As soon as anyone with any common sense looks at HS2 they realise it has no place in a sensible world, we’ve won the argument, there is no argument.”
He added: “It’s another nail in the coffin of HS2, so hopefully it will help speed up the inevitable process.”
The six protesters previously denied aggravated trespass through obstructing or disrupting a person engaging in a lawful activity after digging tunnels beneath Euston Square Gardens and living in them for a month.
At Highbury Magistrates’ Court in October 2021, District Judge Susan Williams dismissed the charges because HS2 was not carrying out construction work at the site at the time of its occupation.
An HS2 spokesman previously said they were “bitterly disappointed” with the outcome.
The i‘s editor Oliver Duff has said cancellation of the project is now on the cards.
Citing the spiralling costs, he said the most likely scenario is that the route to Leeds will go, Manchester will be mothballed and they’ll opt for “hotchpotch improvements to capacity on the West Coast mainline”.
“That roaring noise is reality racing along the tracks towards us”, he said.
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