HS2 Jones Hill Protest site hit out at 'excessive use of force' by National Enforcement Teams

One of the protestors at the site said two arrests were made earlier this morning, and hit out at Police and National Enforcement Team's excessive use of force.

By Thomas Bamford
Thursday, 1st October 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Thursday, 1st October 2020, 11:18 am
A protestor at the site today
A protestor at the site today

The protest site is at Jones' Hill Wood, where anti HS2 protestors have been camped since March.

There are currently around fifteen protestors occupying multiple treehouses across the site.

This ancient woodland has been the site of a protest camp for around seven months, and is included in the list of 20 ancient woodlands that HS2 have highlighted for demolition throughout October.

Ross Monaghan, who is one of the protestors at the site, said: "We were expecting some movement today, and we weren't disappointed.

"At about 5.30 am this morning a national enforcement team of about 40 people, along with 20 supplementary police officers arrived today to try and evict us from the site.

"However, I don't think they realised that 16 of us had erected treehouses in the trees as part of the campaign to save the woods, where we have been disrupting contractors and also taking ecological surveys."

Ross added that he saw two people arrested for trying to stop the contractors chainsaw a tree in the area.

He said: "It was really brutal tactics, I think they used an unnecessary amount of force.

"We are prepared to stay here as long as possible.

"These woods have a unique cultural history being the ones that inspired Roald Dahl to write Fantastic Mr Fox and a varied ecological make up.

"It's a tragedy they are being destroyed for a railway nobody wants."

The protectors who have been living here have been carrying out ecological surveys and recording the diversity that is now under immediate threat.

This includes 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.

Steve Masters, West Berkshire Councillor, who has been living in a treehouse and is continuing to uphold his duties, from sixty feet in the air said: “I am a public official and I have followed a path of public service throughout my life.

"This began 34 years ago when I joined the Royal Air Force. I swore to protect my fellow citizens then and now as we face the greatest challenge in climate change I am duty bound to continue to protect the people of this country and the world.

"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.”