CAMPAIGNERS from the Oxford branch of Extinction Rebellion determined to stop the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail line staged a photo exhibition and handed out leaflets in the heart of Oxford.

Activists gathered in Bonn Square on Monday to raise awareness of how the project could damage the climate.

Explaining why the rail development should be halted immediately, protestor Anne Taylor commented: “The terrible devastation caused by the building of the HS2 railway continues apace.

“HS2 is costing us the Earth.

“The company admits that running HS2 adds to our carbon emissions rather than reducing them.”

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Protestors suggested scrapping the project, which will cost the taxpayer just under £100 billion, and instead investing and improving in the railway system already in place.

Green campaigners also criticised HS2’s impact on wildlife habitats such as woodlands and cast doubt on how much benefit people would get from the line.

They also claimed that the project is set to wreck 693 local wildlife sites and 108 ancient woodlands.

One campaigner from East Oxford was arrested at a ten-hour protest outside the HS2 compound at the village of West Hyde on Friday.

Jessica Upton, 51, who had chained and glued herself to a large bamboo structure erected outside the site, was charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union Act for preventing access to the compound.

Speaking about the line’s effects on the environment, Ms Upton of Chester Street, East Oxford, commented: “HS2 itself acknowledges it will not be carbon neutral in its projected 120 year life span.

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