CAMPAIGNERS from the Oxford branch of Extinction Rebellion were among 21 people who were charged by police after a ten-hour protest against the high-speed rail line between London and the West Midlands.

Activists from Oxfordshire, who travelled to the HS2 compound at the village of West Hyde on Friday, spent nearly ten hours blocking the gates to the site after arriving at 7am.

Oxford resident Jessica Upton, who had chained and glued herself to a large bamboo structure erected outside the site, was one of those arrested.

She was one of 21 activists who were charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union Act for preventing access to the compound.

Speaking about how the rail line would affect the environment, the 51-year-old of Chester Street, East Oxford, commented: “HS2 itself acknowledges it will not be carbon neutral in its projected 120 year life span.

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“No amount of spin and greenwash by the Government and HS2 can make it the right thing to do environmentally, and economically it does not add up either.

“The Government’s own audit committee gave the project a red light saying it basically was not fit for purpose.

“Especially now, during a pandemic, money could be spent in so many better ways like building affordable eco homes, creating sustainable jobs, pay rises for essential workers, support for people suffering due to Covid-19.

“As long as my actions can help bring attention to the wrongness of HS2 then I will keep protesting.”

Ms Upton will appear in St Albans' Magistrates' Court on December 4.

The Prime Minister insisted in September that the rail link will bring 22,000 building jobs and 'fire up economic growth, but protestors argued that the 'wasteful' project will destroy 108 ancient woodlands and 693 wildlife sites.