Six of the country’s most influential environmental leaders met at the site of a proposed link road yesterday (January 27) as protestors prepared for an eviction battle.
The heads of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, The Wildlife Trusts and the Campaign for Better Transport joined senior colleagues from the RSPB and Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to show support for activists and discuss plans for the ongoing Bexhill Hastings road demonstration.
Meanwhile protestors spent the day securing their positions as a mass eviction began this morning (January 28).
Up to 40 activists have been living in tree houses and tunnels on the site of the planned road since December 21.
The authorities have so far evicted two of their three camps so that workers can clear the area.
The £94m road, which has been 20 years in the making, will link the A259 and B2092.
Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The road will further fragment habitats at the very time we should be joining them up – an intention expressed in the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper.
Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, added: “This road shouldn’t have been approved.
“It will lead to more pollution, damage the environment and do little to boost the local economy.”
Meanwhile Ralph Smyth, senior transport campaigner for the CPRE, said: “Once treasured landscapes like Combe Haven are bulldozed, they are gone forever.
“We should be protecting oases of tranquillity not covering them in tarmac and traffic.”
Last week, East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones said that protestors had cost the authority hundreds of thousands of pounds and delayed work on the road by a year.
But, undeterred, protestors issued a call to arms after being told to expect eviction.
The Big Lemon Bus, of which protestor Tom Druitt is managing director, put on a special service to ferry people from Brighton and Hove to the site.
A spokesman for the group said: “Enough is enough, it’s time to protect the countryside.”
Meanwhile East Sussex County Council has until Friday to respond to a High Court request relating to the disputed location of the Battle of Hastings.
Earlier this month, Michael Bernard from the Bexhill Link Road Resistance group (BLINKRR) requested that English Heritage reconsider the location of the 1066 battle.
King Harold’s troops are traditionally thought to have been defeated at a site close to Battle Abbey.
However, fresh evidence suggests that the battle may have actually taken place further west – on the site of the planned road.
The court has asked the council to respond to the matter by Friday.
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