HS2: Swampy's teenage son leaves Euston tunnels after 22 days underground

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The teenage son of Swampy, the famous environmental activist, has left a tunnel under Euston station after 22 days of protest.

Rory Hooper, 16, left the network of tunnels on Wednesday morning after spending three weeks underground as part of a protest against HS2 and the redevelopment of London's Euston Square Gardens.

The teenager, who is said to be the youngest person taking part, is the son of 47-year-old veteran activist Dan Hooper.

Mr Hooper hit headlines in the mid-1990s when he was last to emerge from a tunnel during an A30 extension protest in Fairmile, Devon.

He remains in the 100ft network of tunnels with a small group of activists from the campaign group HS2 Rebellion.

In a statement Rory said: "After almost three weeks underground I am coming up.

"This means there will be more food for the others so they can resist for longer. Dad is staying in the tunnel and will hold out for as long as he can.

"I am looking forward to seeing mum. I have loved digging and being underground and I will continue to protest, HS2 needs to be stopped.

"Young people like me have to take action to stop the ecocide being committed by projects like HS2 because we're in an ecological emergency and our future is at stake.

"Digging a tunnel may seem extreme but maybe it is the only way."

HS2 said on Wednesday morning the teenager had been removed on a stretcher and was assessed by paramedics.

"He will be handed over to the Metropolitan Police," a spokeswoman said.

The tunnels, which were dug in secret by protesters, were discovered on 26 January.

HS2 Rebellion argues that many ancient woodlands will be destroyed by the wider high-speed rail project. In response, HS2 says it is planting seven million new trees.

The protesters last week lost a High Court bid to block an operation to remove them.

HS2's spokesman said: "The safety of those trespassing and that of the HS2 staff and emergency service personnel in this operation is of paramount importance.

"We continue to do all we can to end this illegal action safely, and we reiterate our message to those underground to comply with the court order and exit the tunnel immediately - for their own safety and that of the HS2 staff, agents and emergency service personnel involved in this operation."

Mr Hooper previously said said he "couldn't be prouder" of his son for choosing to join the sit-in, after helping the group to secretly dig the tunnels.

Rory's mother expressed her pride for her son and other young people who "have stood up for what they believe in, with courage and conviction".

She added: "Being involved in the protest has been an amazing experience for Rory…I think he is looking forward to some home-cooked food and time at home."

On Sunday night, 46-year-old HS2 Rebellion protester Scott "Scotty" Breen, also known as Digger Down, left the tunnels and was escorted away by police.

In a Facebook post, Scotty said he was opting to leave the tunnels voluntarily after 19 days in order to "ease the pressure on resources (and) allow others to stay longer".

The 46-year-old, from West Drayton, west London, will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court next week, accused of failing to comply with a community order.