Injunction against unlawful protests at HS2 site extended until 2020

An injunction banning unlawful protests by environmental activists opposed to HS2 will remain in place for another year following a High Court ruling.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was granted a court order against campaigners opposed to the high-speed rail line running through a woodland area in west London in February 2018.

The order banned unlawful protest activities in and around a construction site near Harvil Road in Hillingdon.

In a ruling on Thursday, Judge David Holland QC ordered that the injunction, which was due to expire in June, should continue until June 2020.

Protesters opposed to HS2 attend a High Court hearing in February 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)
Protesters opposed to HS2 attend a High Court hearing in February 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)

The judge said he accepted the protesters were against the development because of their “genuine compassionate concern for the environment and their genuine fear that the activities risk causing irreparable harm to it”.

However, he said there was a “real risk” incursions on to the site and obstructions to it would increase in frequency if he did not continue the order.

He also said campaigners were free to carry out protests against the development elsewhere.

The judge said: “These incursions and obstructions have, as their effect if not their intent, the delay of a major national infrastructure project.

He added: “Obstructing the site goes beyond legitimate protest and encompasses a desire to impede the work going on there.”

The injunction bans anyone from trespassing on the site and from blocking access to it from the road.

It is against “persons unknown” as well as a number of named defendants, including Sarah Green, 63, of Uxbridge, who is due to stand trial in July for allegedly obstructing a digger on the site in December.

The judge said there had been 31 incidents of unlawful protest activity between October 2017 and the granting of the injunction in February 2018, and only 17 in the 15 months since.

Lawyers acting for Mr Grayling and HS2 Ltd had asked for an injunction until 2024, when the works are due to be completed, during a two-day hearing starting on Monday.

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