Link Road Campaigners Plan “Mass Nonviolent Resistance” Following Court Decision

October 10, 2012 by combehavendefenders

£100m Link Road Now a National Issue Says Group

Local opponents of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR), the Combe Haven
Defenders, have announced their intention to mobilise a national campaign
of ” nonviolent resistance” to the scheme, following a decision by the
High Court last Friday (5 October) to turn-down an appeal concerning the
project by the Hastings Alliance [1].

Local group the Combe Haven Defenders- which now has 430 supporters on
Facebook and more offline- recently organised a two-day Camp and Rally in
Combe Haven Valley to develop resistance to the planned road.

Rosa Canadas, a spokesperson for the group, said: “Friday’s High Court
decision marks a new phase of the campaign to stop this disastrous white
elephant project. This road is the first and worst of George Osborne’s
‘hundreds of new roads’ and that makes it a national issue. This campaign
began locally: as local people we understand the damage this road will do
to our communities and green spaces, not to mention the waste of 44
million of our council tax. Local people who have never been involved in
direct action before, are pledging peaceful resistance to stop the road
from being built. But we are also hearing from people around the country
who are ready to stand with us in acts of peaceful resistance to block
construction. We welcome their support.”

Defender Patrick Nicholson added: “In the 1990s peaceful protest
successfully de-railed Margaret Thatcher’s multi-billion pound
road-building programme in a remarkably short space of time. We intend to
learn from that experience and believe that together we can still stop
this environmentally-devastating waste of public money. ”

Government and local councils are planning to spend billions of pounds on
dozens of new roads over the next few years, and new ‘growth’ funds and
devolved spending powers for local councils threaten to add hundreds more
disastrous projects to this list [2]. Of the 45 transport schemes approved
in the budget by the Department of Transport, the Bexhill-Hastings Link
Road (BHLR) is the worst in terms of carbon emissions [3].

The Defenders – who organised the recent Camp & Rally in the valley,
attended by some 200 people [4] – travelled to London last Friday (5
October) to take part in an animal-mask themed demonstration outside the
High Court, in solidarity with the Hastings Alliance’s appeal.The demonstration was attended by several nationally-renowned
environmental figures, including the new head of the Green Party, Natalie
Bennett, the Campaign for Better Transport’s Sian Berry, and Third Runway
activist John Stewart.

A newt- and badger-themed demonstration will be taking place at the County
Hall in Lewes at 9.30am on Tuesday 16 October, outside the next full
meeting of East Sussex County Council.

[2] ‘Plans for 200 new roads threaten some of Britain’s most precious countryside’, Daily Mail, 30 September 2012,
[3] See here

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