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Roads to Nowhere

New Combe Haven film is an inspiration for road campaigners

Sian Berry's picture

From the Granny Tree to George Osborne's country house: watch an inspiring and informative short film about the campaigns against the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.

Filmmaker Marta Lefler from St Leonards has been interviewing local residents and campaigners, and filming the Combe Haven Defenders' creative and radical protests, public meetings and rallies since 2012.

Her 18-minute film, 'Standing Our Ground', includes January’s treetop direct action, the protest that put a 50 metre 'dual carriageway' on the doorstep of Chancellor George Osborne's constituency home, 'Operation Disclosure' that called for the release of secret Department for Transport briefings, and the famous 'Granny Tree' photocall.

Watch the film here:

STANDING OUR GROUND from CombeHaven Defender on Vimeo.

The film also debunks many of the myths surrounding road building, and the extraordinarily poor case for the £113 million Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR). There are informative interviews with Derrick Coffee from the Hastings Alliance and Sian Berry from Roads to Nowhere on the long history of attempts to build the road and the Government's wider plans for more than 200 new roads across the country.

John StewartRenowned road campaigner John Stewart's speech to the Rally Against Road Building in July 2013 is also included, in which he talks about the success of the anti-roads movement in stopping the last great wave of road projects in the 1990s. He says:

"What the government of the day was proposing was 600 road schemes right across the country. The anti-roads movement was so successful that within 10 years only 150 of those road schemes were left and the vast majority of them were defeated. Success can happen. Success can happen - driven by local people and environmental groups."

The Combe Haven Defenders have released the film to show what can be done to resist the new wave of road-building and hope it will inspire other campaigners. Andrea Needham from the campaign says: 

"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."