One protester left in Euston anti-HS2 tunnel as Swampy and others leave | Environmental activism

A lone protester remains in the Euston anti-HS2 tunnel in London after three more activists emerged from underground on Thursday.

Among those to leave were Dan Hooper, known as Swampy, 48, and Isla Sandford, 18, known as Blue. The tunnel protest, which has been going on for 30 days, is one of the longest in UK history.

It is understood that the final activist, known as Bradley, is continuing to occupy a separate part of the tunnel network. Bradley was determined to hold out for as long as possible and had enough food or water to survive for some time, according to fellow activists.

The record for a UK tunnel protest is 40 days in Essex in 2000.

The Euston tunnel was covertly constructed over a period of almost five months beginning in August 2020. Work took place under the noses of police, other officials and rail users without anyone apparently noticing or, if they did notice, challenging the digging. The protesters say that the tunnel network is about 100ft (30 metres) long.

The climate activists say that the tunnel protest at Euston has been necessary to raise awareness about the HS2 rail scheme, which they say is causing extensive environmental damage to ancient woodland and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. HS2 have repeatedly urged the protesters to leave the tunnel for their own safety and that of the bailiffs from the National Eviction Team, who have been working to extract them from the tunnel since 27 January. HS2 officials say that the high-speed rail scheme is environmentally friendly, will encourage more people to use the train rather than their cars and that they are planting 7m new trees to replace those destroyed to make way for the new rail line.

pic of the three who have come out
The three activists who left the tunnel on Thursday, including Swampy (left) and Blue Sandford (centre). Photograph: Handout

The climate activists who have already left the tunnel are Rollie, 17; Rory Hooper, 16, the son of Dan Hooper; Lazer Sandford, 20, the brother of Blue; Scott Breen, 46 and most recently Dr Larch Maxey.

Blue said: “I did this because we are facing societal collapse and human extinction. Peaceful disobedience is the only thing that’s working but it’s not enough. I’m going to carry on protesting with everything I have because I’m fighting for the lives of everyone I love.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Maxey said he was in good shape after almost a month underground.

“It is a massive relief to be above ground again and see nature. It has made me want to protect everything even more,” he said.

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