Swampy (environmentalist)

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Daniel Marc Hooper (born 1973), known by the nickname Swampy, is a British environmental activist.[1] He was involved in a number of environmental protests in the 1990s, becoming nationally famous after spending a week in a tunnel aiming to stop the expansion of the A30 in Fairmile, Devon, in 1996. In 2020, he was arrested attempting to stop the destruction of Jones Hill Wood for High Speed 2 (HS2) and then joined a Stop HS2 protest at Euston Square Gardens in London.

Activism[edit]

Swampy became a nationally known figure in 1996 after spending a week in a complex series of tunnels dug in the path of a new extension to the A30 in Fairmile, Devon, resisting attempts at eviction by police. Specialists were called in to safely remove Swampy and a number of other protesters locked deep inside the network of artificial tunnels.[2][3] Several people took part in the protest, but Swampy was the last one to be evicted. The magistrate passing sentence on him was David Cameron's mother.[4] The mainstream media became fascinated with Swampy, and his subsequent fame included an appearance on the BBC comedy current affairs quiz Have I Got News for You, as the show's youngest-ever panelist.[5][6] A folk song was written about him, entitled "The Fairmile Road Protest Song (Digging Down)".[7] He also protested the Newbury bypass, and in 1997, he entered tunnels intended to prevent the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport.[8][9][6] He then dropped out of sight and refused to talk to the media.[10]

In 2007, the Sunday Mirror newspaper reported that Swampy was taking part in the climate change protests at Heathrow Airport.[11] Hooper's presence on the protest site was dependent on his keeping a low profile, so his celebrity status would not detract from the event.[12] In September 2019, Swampy took part in an Extinction Rebellion protest, attaching himself to a concrete block at the entrance to the Valero Energy fuel refinery in Pembrokeshire.[13][14] He admitted to a charge of wilful obstruction of the highway and was fined £40, plus £85 for costs and a £32 surcharge, commenting, "I am pleading guilty, I can't really afford to keep coming to court."[15]

Swampy was arrested at Jones Hill Wood in Buckinghamshire in October 2020, having occupied a tree house as part of a Stop HS2 protest to prevent trees being felled because they are on the route of High Speed 2.[16] In January 2021, he was involved in the construction and occupation of tunnels at Euston Square Gardens in London as part of the same protests.[17][18] His 16 year-old son joined him in the tunnel protest.[19] Swampy left the tunnel on 25 February.[20] Hooper and others again built and occupied a tunnel on the site of HS2 work in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, emerging on 13 November 2021. They spent 35 days holding out against the national eviction team, 28 of those days completely underground.[21][22][23]

Personal life[edit]

Swampy was born in 1973[1] in Luton, Bedfordshire.[24] In 2006, he was living with his girlfriend and their three children in a yurt, a dome-shaped tent, in Tipi Valley, a commune in west Wales.[25] As of 2013, he was still living in Wales with his family, working for the Forestry Commission and running marathons and half marathons.[26]

In popular culture[edit]

Hooper was parodied in a Judge Dredd comic featuring "Spawny", who impeded the construction of a "Spaceport" in the same manner as the real-life eco-warrior. The story ends with the construction continuing unimpeded, with Spawny apparently being sealed alive under the concrete foundation, a reference to a public comment by Conservative minister John Watts that he would like Swampy to be "buried in concrete".[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Who is Swampy?". www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  2. ^ Lazenby, Peter (21 June 2017). "Activists build fortress to resist eviction". Morning Star. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2019.(subscription required)
  3. ^ "Peter Faulding pictured with Swampy the eco warrior". Specialist Group International. 27 February 2017. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  4. ^ Wheeler, Brian (11 May 2010). "David Cameron: Life and times of new UK prime minister". BBC News. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  5. ^ Caufield, Catherine (1997). "Swampy fever sweeps England". Salon. Archived from the original on 5 January 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b Vooght, Clare (10 October 2019). "Swampy returns for Extinction Rebellion's fight after quiet time in Tipi Valley". inews.co.uk. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ Jury, Louise (23 October 2011). "Protesters Plan next course of action". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 June 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  8. ^ Markham, Jackie (25 February 2016). "Newbury bypass protests in 1996". Newbury Today. Archived from the original on 6 August 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  9. ^ "History of the Manchester Airport second runway". Airportwatch. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  10. ^ Morris, Steven (9 July 2003). "Whatever happened to Swampy? He's gone underground". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  11. ^ Hodgson, Grant (19 August 2007). "SWAMPY JOINS AIRPORT CAMP; EXCLUSIVE (But he goes to sleep at his mum's)". Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  12. ^ "The return of Swampy: Underground eco-hero joins the Heathrow protest". The Independent. 19 August 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Eco-warrior Swampy on Extinction Rebellion: 'It gives me hope'". The Guardian. 9 October 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Swampy's back – but don't expect him to be the face of Extinction Rebellion". The Guardian. 9 October 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Eco warrior Swampy fined for Valero oil refinery protest". BBC News. 8 October 2019. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  16. ^ "HS2: Eco activist Swampy charged after tree protest". BBC News. 9 October 2020. Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  17. ^ Taylor, Diane (29 January 2021). "Swampy is back, in the protest tunnels under Euston". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  18. ^ Mackintosh, Thomas (29 January 2021). "Euston tunnel protest: The activist who celebrated her 17th birthday in jail". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  19. ^ Taylor, Diane (1 February 2021). "'I couldn't be prouder': Swampy and 16-year-old son in HS2 tunnel protest". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  20. ^ "HS2 protest: Swampy and two other activists leave Euston tunnel". BBC News. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  21. ^ "HS2 protesters Swampy and Satchel leave Wendover tunnel after 35 days". The Guardian. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Swampy among final protesters evicted from HS2 camp in Buckinghamshire". BBC News. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  23. ^ "HS2: Final two protesters evicted from underground WAR camp in Buckinghamshire after month-long demonstration". Sky News. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  25. ^ Bunker, Sarah; Coates, Chris; How, Jonathan (10 April 2008). Diggers and Dreamers 2008/09:The Guide to Communal Living. ISBN 978-0954575724.
  26. ^ Carter, Claire (3 September 2013). "Swampy retires from protests to get a job picking acorns". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2021.(subscription required)
  27. ^ "Daniel 'Swampy' Hooper biography". cbrd.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2006.

External links[edit]