This week HS2 Ltd will be in court seeking a route-wide injunction making it a criminal offence for anyone to enter what they call “HS2 land” or delay their operations. HS2 Land in part used to be rolling fields, nature reserves and beautiful places where people took their walks and encountered nature. Now it seeks to exclude everyone and stamp on people’s right to peacefully protest against this environmental disaster.
The injunction will be so massive it has even been given it its own email address (HS2Injunction@governmentlegal.gov.uk) and to show the land covered by the injunction takes 283 pages of plans.
BBOWT has long opposed HS2, not least because of the impact on our reserves: the company took possession of parts of our Calvert Jubilee nature reserve between Bicester and Buckingham in 2020 to facilitate the construction; our nearby Finemere Wood reserve is directly affected by the works, and staff and visitors also now have to cross land in HS2 possession to get into our Bacombe Hill reserve near Wendover.
Security staff have already been accused of being heavy-handed and we have had BBOWT members complain that they have been intimidated by such staff and have avoided our reserves as a consequence. Emboldening security staff with such an injunction risks making the situation worse.
HS2’s fencing in some parts is so poor that visitors to some of our reserves are able to freely wander onto “HS2 Land” without even realising it. Should they accidently stroll onto HS2 land after an injunction is granted they could find themselves facing criminal proceedings. The mere existence of such an injunction could cause people to stop visiting our reserves that neighbour “HS2 Land” through fear of being intimidated by security staff.