Extinction Rebellion protesters disrupt HS2 by climbing on drill

18 February 2020, 11:43

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Extinction Rebellion protesters, including partially sighted Paralympian James Brown, have disrupted HS2 drilling by climbing the machinery in west London.

Two demonstrators from the group clambered on top of a vehicle which was carrying a newly-arrived 100ft drill, and unfurled a banner reading "Protect London's Drinking Water: Stop HS2"

Brown, 43, gained notoriety by climbing onto the roof of a plane at City Airport in October for the campaign group.

The group claimed the demonstrators have food and supplies to last for several days and have said they have no intention of coming down unless removed.

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said the group were "acting to prevent HS2 from drilling into and potentially contaminating an aquifer which provides almost a quarter of London's drinking water to 3.2m people."

Protesters climb on the crane
Protesters climb on the crane. Picture: XR

Speaking immediately prior to occupying the drill, Mr Brown said: "We've got to do whatever we can to halt work if possible. We've got to slow this thing down, ultimately just make it too hard for them to continue.

"Today they're starting drilling into the chalk aquifer that's basically a natural filtration system for London's water supply.

"Once they drill into that, there's a lot of toxins and waste in the surrounding environment that's going to go straight into the water supply and poison it, and that's going to affect 20% of London's population - that's 3.2 million people.

"They can maybe treat the water, add more chemicals to it. But, at a time when clean water's in short supply and is only going to get worse, we ought to be respecting our natural means of water filtration and clean water. We're going to need it."