16-years-old from Lichfield stopped HS2 machine “to protect the trees”.
On Monday 26th October, several protestors went to Black Slough wood as witnesses of the destruction of the woodland. Some tree protectors also peacefully disrupted the trees being cut down by standing in front of the machines.
One of them, Bradley, aged 16, was looking at the scene from the footpath nearby. He said: “I watched as this huge machine wraps its claws around the lungs of mother nature and snap them in half, devouring dozens of trees in mere minutes. All I can feel is my moral conscience telling me to do something, anything, to prevent this from going any further.”
He then started running towards the tree grabber: “The machine was stationary at the time and before I knew it I was running towards it and climbing. One of the HS2 workers grabs my ankle from behind once I am at the top step and attempts to pull me off. The machine also begins to swing as the operator attempts to make me fall off. I stated that I am two metres off the ground and so they cannot touch me.
“Another protester who had initially stopped the work a minute or so before merely by walking onto where it was taking place came to support me and tell them to take their hands off me. Their grip got much harder and they let go after I told them they were hurting me and I assume once they realised that what they were doing was wrong.”
Bradley climbed up further onto the platform where he stayed for five hours: “The police had turned up a couple of times, one time asking me a few questions which I answered, and went back saying that it is up to HS2 to deal with this as I am a completely peaceful protester. Once the incident response team turned up, they gave me the option of getting a team out to remove me or that I can come down on my own. I told them that if they do not touch me then I shall come down, and I did, on my own accord.”
Bradley recently joined the collective Stop HS2 Staffordshire to help protect the woodlands of the Lichfield area: “I look back at this and I do wonder how I was able to do this physically but also how I couldn’t not do this as it is the most horrible machine committing arboricide to mother nature in the midst of a climate emergency.”
A Halloween themed protest is planned on Saturday 31st October from 10 AM at Fradley Junction. The protestors will meet in a COVID-safe manner. They will walk alongside the canal path to show local residents where the trees will be cut down in the next couple of weeks.