HS2 protester climbs ‘150ft’ crane at Euston Station in hunger strike

The banner unfurled on Saturday morning read: "HS2 is corrupt". Picture: Dorothea Hackman

The banner unfurled on Saturday morning read: "HS2 is corrupt". Picture: Dorothea Hackman - Credit: Archant

A HS2 protester climbed a “150ft” crane at Euston Station in hunger strike against the multi-billion pound rail project.

Picture: Dorothea Hackman

Picture: Dorothea Hackman - Credit: Archant

The HS2 Rebellion activist climbed the crane in the early hours of Saturday morning using a harness and unfurled a banner that read: “HS2 is corrupt”.

The protester was arrested as she came down in the early hours of Monday, it is understood.

HS2 said the Euston protest and ongoing climate demonstrations across London “endangered” the public and put “unnecssary strain” on the emergency services.

But Leayn, when perched in the crane cabin, told the Ham&High: “A lot of people don’t seem to understand the ramifications of what’s happening with HS2.

Picture: Simon Lamrock

Picture: Simon Lamrock - Credit: Archant

“A lot of people in neighbourhoods don’t want it, they’re dead against it, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, it’s a very different thing.

“They don’t want to rock the boat and bring anything on themselves and a crane is a massive thing that can be used for promotional materials, the same as anything else. It just makes sense.”

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HS2, which will depart to and from Euston Station, could cost more than £100bn and has been subject of strong opposition from Camden residents, campaigners and politicians.

Crane protester Leayn, who is a writer, said it was important HS2 Rebellion’s message “got out in a big way”.

She said her skyline vantage point over London was “humbling” but that the number of buildings too heavily outweighed the number of trees.

Leayn said she wasn’t an environmentalist but someone who cared about the landscape.

“I’m here to try and create awareness,” the protester said. “HS2 is not something we need or ever needed, and we really could be improving on something else.”

A HS2 spokesperson said: “These protests are a danger to the safety of the protestors, our staff and the general public, and put unnecessary strain on the emergency services.

“All leading wildlife organisations agree that climate change is the biggest future threat to wildlife and habitats in the UK.

“By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s fight against climate change.

“We’d urge environmental groups to help us in getting people out of their cars, off planes and onto low-carbon, high speed rail.”

Cllr Oliver Cooper, the leader of Camden Council’s opposition, said HS2 was “monstrous waste” of taxpayers’ money and that the fight against it was “not lost”.

He told this newspaper: “I welcome keeping up the profile of the campaign against HS2, but direct action always risks alienating the very people you’re trying to win over.”

On Friday, construction work on HS2, a 20-year project that will connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, officially started.

Camden Council has been approached for comment.