Why are protesters tunneling under a train station?

Challenge Question.jpg

What's the background?

A new high-speed railway, known as HS2, is being constructed between London and the North.

However, some are against the £106bn plan - claiming it is the "most expensive, wasteful and destructive project in UK history" and that it is "set to destroy or irreparably damage 108 ancient woodlands and 693 wildlife sites".

However, bosses at HS2 have said seven million trees s will be planted during the opening phase of the project and that much ancient woodland will "remain intact", according to BBC News.

Find out more about the project, and arguments for and against it, on this Newsround page.

What's happening now?

According to BBC News, campaigners spent months digging the tunnel they claim is 100ft (30m) long to protest against the railway's construction. Since August, HS2 Rebellion members have been living in tree houses and tents at a camp nearby.

Now, HS2 have started to evict activists who dug the tunnel near Euston station. A HS2 spokeswoman said the protesters were "trespassing" on land owned by the company.


  1. What's the aim of this protest?
  2. Why have protestors chose this method of protest?
  3. Do you think it will make a difference?

Comments (8)

  • Hammond School logo analytical_sea | Hammond Junior School F
    28 Jan 2021

    Hiya Tom, and other BNC people!

    1. The aim of this protest is to stop the building of the HS2 new railway, because they think it is going to effect the environment and forests in a bad way.

    2. The chose to this method of protest (digging up the tunnel to stop the HS2 being created) because if they are not able to make the rail, then they won't have to protest once it has been finished.

    3. Yes, I think it will make the builders, or at least people out there, think about what we are doing ruining the environment.


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  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
    28 Jan 2021

    1. The aim of this protest is to stop construction of a new high-speed railway, because they think it’s a waste of money and some parts of the environment and wildlife sites will get destroyed.

    2.I think they chose this method of protesting because how else are they going to stop the HS2 from getting built e.g. if they did a peaceful protest, the planners of the HS2 will just ignore them, it might get them somewhere but it will just take more longer. But, if they actually do something like digging up the tunnel to stop the HS2 from getting built, they have more chances of it working.

    3. Yes, because if they continue fighting for their opinions and continue digging up the tunnel, they’ll have no choice but to listen because they can’t build the HS2 and then they’ll finally understand and realize that they’re hurting and destroying the environment.

    In my point of view, I think what they’re doing is right because if they don’t want the HS2 being built, then they should stand up for their opinions and reasons of objection and get their voices heard(which they’re doing), only then the bosses of HS2 will listen to reason.


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  • Ericka Shin.jpg EXPERT: Ericka Shin, Fact Checker @ The Economist
    29 Jan 2021

    Thanks for your answers, analytical_sea. You stated that you think HS2 Rebellion's protest will make a difference because it will get people to think about the railway's negative impact on the environment. Why is it important to do that, ie, make people consider the environmental consequences?

    Reply to this comment
  • Hammond School logo generous_fish | Hammond Junior School B
    29 Jan 2021

    Hello,I would like to tell you my opinion on the question is it ever acceptable for protesters to break the law?

    In my opinion I think they should not break the law because if someone wrekes a shop ,the owner has to pay for the damage and not the person who caused the damage.On the other hand,the protesters have got to get attenchion somehow like glueing themselves to the side of a train so when it comes into the station,people will recognise. However,if they wreak a shop or a building some people will go away and think that the person is bad

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ the BNC
      generous_fish's comment 29 Jan 2021

      What if protesting itself is against the law? Should people still protest?

      Reply to this comment
  • Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg dedicated_starfruit | Boutcher C of E Primary School A
    02 Feb 2021

    Hello Tom,
    Hello Tom,
    1. The aim of this protest is to raise awareness for climate change and use eco-friendly transport.
    2.They have chosen this method of protest because people are not paying enough attention to climate change so they have to go all in.
    3. I think it will make a difference because the government will think we do not want trains to be stopped again so they will have to follow the climate change rules.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Park logo eager_reflection | Cheam Park Farm Primary
    03 Feb 2021

    eager_reflection here,
    I'm going to be answering the questions.
    1. What is the aim of this protest?
    The aim of this protest is to stop a railway network called HS2 (High Speed 2) from being constructed. This is because protesters think it can damage the environment by demolishing animals' natural habitat. To prevent this from happening, protesters have tunnelled underneath the building site in Euston Square. Initially, they created 'tree houses' to protest from higher up. They then set up camps and began digging their own tunnel down below. They claim it to be 100ft long, calling it 'Kelvin' as a codename. This will delayed any further building of HS2, as it can endanger the protesters.
    2. Why have protestors chose this method of protest?
    I think that protesters have chosen this method of protest because it makes it harder for the police or firemen to evict them. By going higher up in treehouses and underground, they are risking their lives for their cause. This is because in a treehouse, if you slip, you can seriously injure yourself, and if you underground the ground can be unstable and could cave in or collapse on them. It is effective because the police have to dig to get to the protesters in a safe way, and this can take time, delaying the construction even further, costing them more money to build. Even after police have evicted protesters, the ground can still be unstable from the digging, so HS2 will need to rectify this.
    3. Do you think it will make a difference?
    I think it can make a difference because it will still delay the construction and cost more money to build. It could also make the government plant more trees instead. Unfortunately, I do not think it will work that well, but can raise awareness about the environment. This is because if construction has already begun, they will have to continue.
    Thanks for reading.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      eager_reflection's comment 04 Feb 2021

      Good research and thinking here, eager_reflection. Do you think the government might rethink its plans about railway construction because home-working might remain popular once the pandemic is over?

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