Revealed: 18-year-old XR activist daughter of island-owning millionaire who wants to ‘re-wild London with guerrilla gardening’ is among eco-warrior HS2 protesters burrowed in tunnels at Euston station
- Blue Sandford, 18, proudly posted last night a picture of her the illegal burrow
- She is the daughter of eccentric millionaire Roc Sandford who owns an island
- Ms Sandford who revealed a 2019 said last night ‘I put the crime in criminal’
A teenager holed-up in secret tunnels below Euston Station in protest at the HS2 high-speed railway is the daughter of an eccentric millionaire who owns a Scottish island.
Blue Sandford, 18, proudly posted last night a picture of herself in the illegal underground burrow, declaring ‘I put the crime in criminal’.
The environmental campaigner is the one of the children of Roc Sandford, a wealthy landowner and publisher.
Mr Sandford, a proud supporter of her and Extinction Rebellion, recently gave two daughters Christmas presents made out of rubbish found on his Inner Hebridean isle of Gometra. The businessman, who identifies as non-binary on his website and uses the pronoun ‘They’ had made the reclaimed items into art and wrapped them in old newspaper.
Ms Sandford has been nicknamed ‘The British Greta Thunberg’ after many years of green activism, despite only recently becoming old enough to vote. She once claimed she reluctantly became a campaigner, but wants to rewild the capital by stealth ‘guerrilla gardening’.
She splits her time between her father’s island and her mother’s west London property.
Blue Sandford, 18, declares she puts ‘the crime in criminal’ from the protest tunnel last night
Ms Sandford has been described as the British Greta Thunberg and comes from a wealthy dad
Father and daughter campaigning together at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London
Roc Sandford delivered a speech at the Extinction Rebellion fortnight of protests in person
Ms Sandford’s father Roc is a millionaire Extinction Rebellion supporter and owns an island
The teenager last year brought out her ‘manifesto’ called Challenge Everything: An Extinction Rebellion Youth guide to saving the planet.
And she revealed in an interview promoting the book she had been arrested in September as part of the controversial protest group’s fortnight of action in London.
She said she spent the start of her 17th birthday in a custody cell and a month later was charged with obstruction of the highway. It is not clear what happened with the case.
Ms Sandford was dubbed Britain’s Greta Thunberg by The Times after doing an interview with them, but later told euronews she did not appreciate the comparison.
A barefoot Ms Sandford cuddles a lamb on her father’s Inner Hebridean isle of Gometra
One protester was removed by enforcement agents and could be heard shouting out loud
Police officers remove a banner as protesters are cleared by bailiffs and officers from camp
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She said: ‘I don’t like it, it’s making it about individuals rather than the movement.
‘It’s not about Greta Thunberg, it’s about climate change.’
In the same chat she said she wanted to ‘rewilding cities like London’ and advocated ‘guerrilla gardening’ to make wild spaces.
But despite not enjoying the Greta comparison at the start of the September school term of 2019 she made a move inspired by the Swedish activist’s history.
Ms Sandford declared she would be on permanent school strike to raise awareness of climate change.
She appeared to mark the decision on social media, exclaiming ‘Can’t believe I’m officially a high school dropout’.
Yet in an interview with Reuters she claimed it was not a path she particularly wanted to follow.
She said: ‘I don’t really want to be a climate-change activist.
‘I feel like I’ve sort of been forced into it because nothing else is working.
‘I think we need to start from a place of science and empiricism and figure out the truth about the climate and ecological crisis, and then act.’
Now she appears to have found a new – and extremely disruptive – way to act on her beliefs.
She is among anti-HS2 protesters in the secret 100ft tunnel near London’s Euston Station.
On Wednesday bailiffs began trying to evict them from their makeshift camp, which has been made with help from veteran activist Swampy.
They were thwarted by huge wooden platforms and cranes they had put up in the trees and were forced to abandon the enforcement last night.
The activists declared temporary victory and said they would spent the night in the tunnels.
It was a promise proved true as Ms Sandford showed off a series of pictures of her and her friend inside their underground refuge.
Her HS2 Rebellion comrades are protesting HS2 plans to destroy the gardens by building a temporary taxi rank for Euston Station.
They have accused HS2 of ‘breaking the law by attempting an eviction without a court order and during the national coronavirus lockdown’.
But an HS2 spokeswoman blasted the ‘illegal’ occupation and said it presented a ‘danger’ to HS2 staff and High Court enforcement officers.
The Metropolitan Police said officers were deployed only to help bailiffs should there be any ‘breach of the peace’.
Enforcement agents try to bring down Daniel ‘Swampy’ Hooper from a structure in 2020
A protester is led away from the makeshift protest camp in Euston Square Gardens in London
Bailiffs clear debris and set up a temporary tent after clearing protestors from the site
The encampment in Euston Square Gardens in central London, where HS2 protesters hide
Why is HS2 so controversial?
The Woodland Trust, a conservation charity, calls HS2 ‘a grave threat to the UK’s ancient woods, with 108 at risk of loss or damage’.
But HS2 says only 0.29 square kilometres (0.11 square miles) of ancient woodland will be lost during the first phase. HS2 says it will reduce journey times between London and northern England and add capacity to Britain’s crowded rail network.
Critics question whether HS2 is worth its ballooning price tag – now reported more than £100billion – especially after a pandemic that might permanently change people’s travel habits.
The first phase linking London and Birmingham is due to open between 2029 and 2033, according to HS2 Ltd.
In September Boris Johnson joined the front line to see work begin on HS2, as shovels hit the ground in Solihull.
He said the ‘incredible’ scheme, launched in 2009, would deliver not just ‘22,000 jobs now, but tens of thousands more high-skilled jobs in the decades ahead’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs last year the first trains may not be up and running until 2031. The project has been shrouded in controversy since its birth, with campaigners warning it is ‘decimating countryside and creating a huge financial burden’.
In April wildlife presenter Chris Packham lost a High Court bid to stop ancient woodlands being dug up for the project.
The HS2 rail project, which is set to link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, and rebalance the UK’s economy, has been called ‘expensive, wasteful and destructive’ by environmentalists.
Anti-HS2 protesters claim the line will destroy or irreparably damage 108 ancient woodlands and 693 wildlife sites, and that Euston Square Gardens will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold off to developers.
They added that ‘tree protectors’ were prepared to occupy the tunnels, dug ‘in secret’ over the last few months, and would stay underground ‘for as long as it takes to stop HS2’.
Independent experts have estimated that the HS2 rail line will cost in excess of £100billion. However, HS2 disputes this, and claims it will cost up to £98billion.
MailOnline understands that HS2 has taken legal temporary possession of Euston Square Gardens East in order to relocate the temporary taxi rank for Euston Station.
The current location of the taxi rank – Euston Square Gardens West – is required for preparatory works, including significant utilities diversions, to enable the improvements to the connections between Euston Square and Euston Underground stations, as well as for the construction of Euston’s new station.
HS2 served notices on the legal owners and occupiers of the land – London Borough of Camden, Network Rail and Transport for London – last month, stating the intention to take the site under the powers of Temporary Possession.
It is understood that the notice period is over and HS2 is now entitled the take possession of the land, and any occupants on the land are now trespassing.
The current ban on evictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic is not applicable and the police, landowners and those with legal possession of the land have the power to remove trespassers using minimum force.
HS2 bosses also insist that most ancient woodland will ‘remain intact’.
Responding to the Euston Gardens encampment, a spokesperson said: ‘To ensure HS2 is able to deliver its major benefits to the UK on time, certain works must take place at designated times.
‘HS2 has taken legal temporary possession of Euston Square Gardens East in order to progress with works necessary for the construction of the new Euston station.
‘These protests are a danger to the safety of the protestors, our staff and the general public, and put unnecessary strain on the emergency services during a pandemic.
‘The protestors are currently trespassing on land that is legally possessed by HS2.’
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