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SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE FRIENDS OF THE EARTH & ROAD BLOCK

PRESS RELEASE

 

Protests resume to stop the Linslade bypass after first victory

 

Work on the controversial Stoke Hammond to Linslade bypass [1] has been temporarily halted due to the pressures of protests. However local protesters fear that clearance work will resume on Monday morning, and have organised a demonstration for 7.30am, before people have to go work and take children to school.  It is anticipated that if machinery is brought in, there will be an attempt to stop work [2].

 

Local residents will be available to interview and include: 

Caroline Davies who is the mother of two children and is a higher education administrator and a writer

George Mills is a grandfather  and an "executive car  driver" working mainly in London

Dr Michael Taylor is 67 years old and is a retired physics teacher.

Roger Pepworth is a retired headmaster.

Heather Fox is 61 years old and is a semi retired music teacher.

Carol Parnell was a company director and is now an Angel teacher and healer.

Martin Clarke is a full time father and was previously a Design Lecturer at Central St Martins, London

Stella Goddard is a graphic designer and mother of three children.

 

Contact Victoria Harvey on 01525 385 097 or on 07815 817 108 to arrange interviews.

 

Buckinghamshire County Council have said that work has been suspended on police advice while the security situation is reviewed. This follows the arrest on Wednesday of two women who chained themselves to a an excavator [3], with other local people standing in front of chainsaw crews.  Protests started on Monday 17th January as Road Block, the national alliance against road building was launched [4].  Work has been stopped on each day by local residents who have kept up a constant vigil in shifts all week to make sure that work does not resume.  Local people have been demonstrating peacefully all week despite the commitments of jobs and families.

 

According to Buckinghamshire County Council's press release, "Protestors have succeeded in delaying the work of one contractor on site - Homegrown Timber Limited. The council, on police advice, agreed not to move in heavy machinery until the site could be adequately secured."

 

This road does not help the most congested road in Linslade that children have to cross to go to school. Those who expect a quick journey to Milton Keynes will be stuck in gridlock at the northern end of the bypass. We believe that it is the first piece of infrastructure to pave the way for the huge housing development planned for the 'Growth Area'.  The protest will continue as more and more people know about the issue and understand it.  The protest is mainly local residents who care about their environment, and they will be joined by activists.

 

Victoria Harvey of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth said:

 

"The road ignores government transport policy and the forecasting for the road is now completely wrong as it does not account for the new housing growth. The present traffic problems of Soulbury and Stoke Hammond are nothing to what will happen with the growth. Prescott is completely overriding local people. This is the London Docklands all over again, the needs of local people are being totally ignored. Local democracy is being destroyed so we are forced to take direct action. According to John Prescott the new housing is supposed to be based on urban areas and good public transport. Yet the government is funding a road scheme that will cause sprawl over beautiful countryside and will not relieve the terrible congestion in Leighton Buzzard.  Prescott's roads and airports will make places horrible to live in. Our children deserve birds and wildflowers not roads, congestion, airports and global warming."

 

Local website about the protest is at www.linsladeprotest.org.uk

 

 

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NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] The Stoke Hammond and Linslade Western Bypass is the first of four bypasses, which will provide a dual carriageway between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. This is in one of the Government's 'growth areas', with Milton Keynes set to have 44,000 new homes by 2021, South Bedfordshire 26,000, and Aylesbury 15,000.

[2]  The demonstration will be on the B4032 between Soulbury and Linslade between Dollar Farm and Valley Farm. 

[3] Victoria Harvey (36) and Rebecca Lush (32) were chained to a digger for over 2 hours, and were finally arrested for 'aggravated trespass'.  They have bailed to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates court on Friday 28th January 2005, at 10am.  Anonymous local supporters have already pledged to pay Victoria's fines.

[4]  Road Block is a national alliance of community groups and individuals opposed to new roads.  New groups from Edinburgh to Cornwall, via the route of the proposed 51-mile M6 Expressway, are joining the Road Block alliance.

[5] For more info on road schemes see www.transport2000.org.uk

[6]  Support for people taking direct action against road building is available from Road Alert! at www.roadalert.org.uk.

 

CONTACTS

Victoria Harvey of South Beds Friends of the Earth on 01525 385 097 and 07815 817108 or vharvey@btopenworld.com

Rebecca Lush of anti-roads alliance Road Block on 07854 693067 and office@roadblock.org.uk  See also www.roadblock.org.uk

 

 

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