Ninety sign pledge to take part in ‘peaceful resistance’ to the road

October 2, 2012 by combehavendefenders

Defender Emily and badger friend welcome walkers to the “Stop the Road” Camp in Combe Haven Valley on Saturday 29 September

Press release

Two Hundred Attend Camp & Rally Against Link Road
Ninety sign pledge to take part in ‘peaceful resistance’ to the road

Roughly two hundred people attended a “Stop the Road” Camp & Rally in Combe Haven Valley on 29/30 September, celebrating the beauty of the valley and enjoying a remarkable weekend of speeches, workshops, shadow puppetry, children’s theatre, story-telling, campfires, local music and great food. Nearly half of those attending signed a new pledge [2], expressing their willingness to ‘take part in acts of peaceful resistance to the road’, with some fifty people taking part in an “Introduction to Direct Action” workshop on the Saturday afternoon.

The two-day event, organised by local group Combe Haven Defenders [1], was held to develop resistance to the £100m Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) – work on which is currently scheduled to start in January 2013 – and received national coverage in both the Daily Mail and Sunday Times [3].

At a packed workshop of roughly 90 people on the Saturday, renowned environmentalist John Stewart [4] explained how other similar projects have been stopped at the ‘eleventh hour’ in the past, eg. the planned six-lane highway through the historic Oxleas wood in South East London, which was successfully blocked after campaigners mobilised thousands to sign a “Beat the Bulldozers” pledge to blockade construction if it went ahead.

Futher actions are now planned this Friday (5 October), outside the High Court in London, in support of the Hastings Alliance’s appeal against the decision to refuse a judicial review of government funding for the BHLR [5], and in Lewes at 9.30am on Tuesday 16 October, outside the next full meeting of East Sussex County Council (ESCC).

Combe Haven Defenders spokesperson Andrea Needham said: “Last weekend’s camp & rally was just the first step of a new phase in the campaign to stop the needless destruction of our historic and beautiful valley. We intend to mobilise locally – and nationally – to prevent this wasteful and environmentally disastrous project.”

NOTES
[1] www.combehavendefenders.org.uk
[2] Text of the Pledge: http://tinyurl.com/signthepledge
[3] See http://tinyurl.com/200rally
[4] John Stewart was named “Britain’s most effective radical green activist” in the first comprehensive list of the country’s most effective greens, compiled by The Independent on Sunday – in part for his role in “co-ordinat[ing] protests that brought Tory plans for ‘the greatest road-building programme since the Romans’ to a screeching halt in the 1990s.” For more info see www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2244
[5] http://tinyurl.com/animaluprising3

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