Combe Haven Defenders Joins “Roads to Nowhere” Network

November 6, 2012 by combehavendefenders

Members of the Combe Haven Defenders joined anti-roads campaigners from acrosss the UK at the Roads to Nowhere Conference in Birmingham last weekend.

Campaigners against the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) have joined a new national network of anti-roads campaigners, following a conference in Birmingham last weekend.

Abby Nicol and Andrea Needham, from the Combe Haven Defenders, travelled to Birmingham on Saturday November 3 to take part in the conference, which was organised by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and attended by campaigners from towns and cities across the UK, including Oxford, Norwich, Manchester, Nuneaton, Lancaster, Nottingham and Stockport.

In the 1990s, the government’s huge road building programme was quietly shelved after huge protests at Twyford Down, Newbury and other road construction sites, many of them co-ordinated through ALARM UK, a network of anti-roads groups similar to the new “Roads to Nowhere” network. Now many of those roads are making a reappearance, in what could become the biggest road building programme since the Thatcher years.

A recent major report by the Campaign for Better Transport provided details of 191 road projects – conservatively costed at £30bn – that are currently in the pipeline across England and Wales. Over forty of these projects are direct revivals from the Tories’ 1990s ‘Roads for Prosperity’ programme. [3]

In the report’s foreword, Steven Norris – who was the Tories’ Minister for Transport in London in 1992 – writes that “Experience tells us clearly that a massive programme of road building won’t solve [the problems of economic inertia, congested roads and housing shortages] … Investing in effective, affordable and easy to use public transport is part of the solution. So is planning new developments so that they do not rely on cars. Most of all, now is the time for brave and creative decision-making, not a return to the past.”

Speaking after the conference, Andrea Needham said, “It was great to meet campaigners from all over the country, working to stop their local countryside being destroyed in the same way as we’re trying to save Combe Haven. We heard many stories about how roadbuilding in the 90s was brought to a halt by protest, in some cases at the eleventh hour, and were inspired by the energy and commitment to oppose this new wave of roadbuilding.”

The Combe Haven Defenders (CHD), are calling on 1,066 people from across the country to “pledge to take part in peaceful resistance to the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.”

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