Standing Our Ground: A short film about the Combe Haven campaign

November 12, 2013 by combehavendefenders

A short film about the Combe Haven campaign and Osborne’s new roads by film-maker Marta Lefler.

Press Release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Tuesday 12 November

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Opponents of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) have released a new film about the ongoing campaign against the project, situating it in the context of Chancellor George Osborne’s new national road building programme.

In addition to debunking many of the myths surrounding road building, the 18-minute film, “Standing Our Ground”, made by St Leonards-based filmmaker Marta Lefler, features footage from a wide variety of creative actions against the road, including January’s treetop direct action protests, the building of a 50m-long “dual carriageway” on the doorstep of George Osborne’s countryside retreat in Derbyshire [2], and the now famous “Granny Tree” action [3].

It also includes interviews with environmental campaigner Sian Berry and residents of Bexhill, Crowhurst and Hastings, and breathtakingly beautiful footage from the Combe Haven valley.

The film can be viewed for free online at the Combe Haven Defenders web-site ( or on Vimeo [4].

The BHLR is the ‘first and the worst’ of over 200 new road projects that the Government, big business and local councils are pushing throughout England and Wales, including 76 bypasses, 56 widened roads, 48 link roads and 9 bridges and tunnels [5]. However, resistance to this new road building programme is growing, with recent upsurges of anti-road campaigning in Greenwich [6], Bristol [7] , Norwich [8] and Gwent [9].

Andrea Needham, a spokesperson for the Combe Haven Defenders, said: “Spending £113m on a road that is set to generate barely 500 local jobs – and won’t address our local transport problems – is clearly a colossal waste of public money. It’s also just the tip of the iceberg: the government’s new national roadbuilding programme represents a massive threat to our countryside and our climate, as well as to the public purse. However, as this film makes clear, these disastrous schemes can – and will – be successfully resisted.”

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[5] See for an online map of the proposals. For background see the Campaign for Better Transport’s October 2012 briefing ‘Going backwards: the new roads programme’: The latter lists 191 projects (more have come to light since then), noting that ‘Many of the roads would affect areas protected for conservation, landscape and heritage reasons … incl[uding] three National Parks, the National Wetland of the Norfolk Broads and at least seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).’

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