A woman screams ‘you’re breaking my fingers’ as HS2 protest camp eviction begins

Treehouse Jones Hill wood
Eliza Egret

Bailiffs, aided by police, are using brutal force to evict an anti-HS2 protest camp in Jones Hill Wood, Buckinghamshire. Protesters are calling for urgent back-up to help them protect the woodland that will soon be destroyed forever. The police have arrested at least three people so far.

In the darkness of early morning on Thursday 1 October, around 40 National Eviction Team (NET) bailiffs, working on behalf of HS2, and accompanied by 20 police officers, made their way into the camp. Footage shows a woman screaming in pain as NET officers assault her in an attempt to remove her. “You’re breaking my fingers!” she screams, as police watch on, complicit in the attack.

As chainsaws cut their way through the delicate habitat, there are currently 15 activists living in tree houses 60 feet up. They’ve vowed to remain up there indefinitely. According to protesters, Jones Hill is included in the list of 20 ancient woodlands that HS2 has highlighted for demolition throughout October.

Jones Hill Wood eviction

F*ck HS2

The HS2 high-speed train line has previously been called “the most expensive and destructive infrastructure project in Europe”.

According to This Is Not About A Railway:

The HS2 hybrid bills allow the government, the HS2 exec and their contractors to take whatever land they like, through Compulsory purchase and Temporary Possession Orders, and do with it as they please. Disregarding existing regulation and legislation, environmental and social protections, regardless of how far from the trainline that land lies. (I’ve heard of lakes in Rugby and Kent that will be filled with the spoil from the tunnelling operations.) Damaging and destroying 108 ancient woodlands, 33 sites of special interest, 693 Local Wildlife Sites and 21 Local Nature Reserves…which provide so much for those Humans who visit; closing well used rights of way with no notice, diversion or apology.

‘Resolute and determined’ resistance

As NET thugs surround the land, activists aren’t going anywhere. Steve Masters is a West Berkshire Councillor who has been continuing with his council work whilst living 60 feet high in a tree. He said:

I am willing to be arrested and ultimately imprisoned in order to highlight the catastrophic damage HS2 will do to our natural environment. Our prime minister pledged to protect the biodiversity of the planet while at the same time continuing to support this destructive and unnecessary rail link. As the chainsaws whine around me this morning, I am resolute and determined to fight for a future fit for my grandchildren.

We need to protect the last of our woodlands

Jones Hill Wood is a special place. Those protecting the site have been recording its diversity, including:

43 species of moth, seven species of bat including rare and protected roosts, at least three families of badgers, one active fox den and countless species of insects and pollinators essential to the survival of an already dwindling countryside.

Just 2.4% of the UK is made up of ancient woodland. As the government and private companies do what the hell they please, it is down to us to try to protect what is left of it. The ancient beech trees, the 43 species of moth, the seven species of bats: they will all be gone in days. And for what? Company profit, and for an unnecessary railway line which most of us won’t be able to afford to travel on anyway.

This is our land. Stop HS2.

Featured image via Ross Monaghan with permission

Get involved

  • Go to Jones Hill Wood to help the activists to save the woods. It is located at Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6PT

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