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Transport Secretary launches legal bid to stop HS2 protest

Protesters said they would try to stop the judge imposing an injunction.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has launched High Court action to stop “unlawful protest” by demonstrators opposed to the HS2 rail line running through a woodland area in west London.

Lawyers representing Mr Grayling and HS2 bosses on Monday asked a judge to impose an injunction to “restrain unlawful protest activities” in and around a construction site near Harvil Road in Hillingdon.

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HS2 protesters (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Justice Barling is expected to make a decision within the next few hours.

More than a dozen protesters were at the High Court hearing in London.

One said it was the first time ministers had taken such legal action in a bid to stop an HS2 protest.

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The court heard that work at the site had been authorised by Parliament (HS2)

Mark Keir, co-ordinator of the Hillingdon Green Party, said around 50 people were trying to protect wildlife in an area of around 300 acres.

He said protesters would try to stop the judge imposing an injunction.

“We are protecting wildlife,” said Mr Keir outside court before the hearing began.

“There are about 2,400 species there. We are protecting trees and fauna and flora. We are protecting a local amenity. It is an area of about 300 acres.

“The protest started in October. There are probably 50 people involved.”

He added: “This is the first time the Government has done this in an attempt to stop an HS2 protest. We will fight this.”

This is the first time the Government has done this in an attempt to stop an HS2 protest. We will fight this Mark Keir, Hillingdon Green Party

Barrister Tom Roscoe, who represented Mr Grayling and HS2 bosses, told the judge that work at the site had been authorised by the provisions of the 2017 High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act.

“The claimants recognise that HS2 is a controversial project,” he said.

“They also recognise the defendants’ concerns are deeply and genuinely held.

“Their concerns, however, do not justify them taking matters into their own hands or seeking to police matters which are properly the subject of regulation.”

He said the aim was to stop trespassers disrupting work and to to stop vehicles being obstructed.

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