29 January 2013: This week, road protest camp evictions continue, while six major environment groups visit the valley and the Hastings battle site issue goes to court.
Since Monday morning, bailiffs, security guards and police have been attempting to evict the last camp currently in the Combe Haven valley, where protestors have set up treehouses to save scores of trees lying in the path of the planned Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
On Sunday, leaders and senior staff from the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Campaign to Protect Rural England joined Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport to visit the valley and meet the Combe Haven Defenders as they prepared for new eviction attempts this week.
The groups were united in condemning the plans for the road. They went to witness the destruction already caused at the site of the evicted Adams farm camp and to raise the wider issue of the dangers of returning to a policy of major road building across the country.
"A new generation of bad road schemes is the not the legacy any government should want." – RSPB Conservation Director Martin Harper writes on his blog
Show of strength at Hastings road protest – news from the Wildlife Trusts
"We may well see a return to the 80s. And not just in terms of the direct action, but in much wider public outcry, as there was then, about completely unsustainable road-building." - Friends of the Earth Executive Director Andy Atkins speaks to the Guardian piece about the evictions and Sunday’s visit
Today’s guest post is by Michael Bernard of campaign group BLINKRR, which is bringing a case in the High Court to challenge the decision by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) not to call off the contractors while English Heritage reviews its registration for the site of the Battle of Hastings.
BLINKRR - Bexhill Link Road Resistance - wants to stop the Bexhill Hastings Link Road to save the 1066 Battlefield and to save the lovely Combe Haven Valley.
The environmental, historical and heritage elements of BLINKRR's opposition are inseparable: we need to save the valley to save the battlefield, and save the battlefield to save the valley. Further, BLINKRR is informed by a world view valuing sustainability and sees the BHLR as a glaringly obvious example of unsustainability.
Much better, according to BLINKRR, to think about the green growth that might come with gaining World Heritage Status for the Combe Haven Valley as the site of the Battle of Hastings "theatre of war." East Sussex County Council, according to BLINKRR, is creating an environmental and cultural tragedy in the Combe Haven Valley but pushes on oblivious to the evidence and blind to the truth, showing nothing less than crass insensitivity and ignorance with regard to the very roots of human happiness, our shared need both for culture and for a place in the world of nature.
If ESCC succeeds in forcing a road through the Battle of Hastings site and, at the same time, utterly destroying the "exceptional tranquility" of the valley, it will be guilty of an absolutely unforgivable act of cultural and environmental vandalism.
Find out more about BLINKRR and Friday’s legal action on their website: www.blinkrr.org