Sunday, 30 September 2012

20th Anniversary of Twyford Down ~ No New Roads!

Yesterday I went along to the event commemorating the 20 year anniversary of the protests to stop the M3 being built through Twyford Down, near Winchester, as part of the Conservative Government's 'Roads to prosperity' programme back in the early 90s. It was shocking and sad to revisit the results of Government disregard for one of the most protected landscapes in Southern England, an area that was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, contained Sites of Special Scientific interest and Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

This had been a huge protest which although it did not manage to prevent the road being built and its non-violent activists being subjected to prison sentences and violence from both police and private security guards, it brought the devastating impact of the road building programme to a global audience, and was effective in significantly reducing the numbers of other proposed road schemes.

A full account of the 1990s road protest movement can be read here:
An article looking back at the Twyford Down protest by Becca Lush Blum, a Twyford Down campaigner is here:
Becca Lush Blum, being interviewed yesterday
It was also a day to reconnect with people who still actively care and are committed to defending landscapes and communities from the destruction of the new roads programme being planned by the current Government. We tied yellow sashes round us, each marked with the name of a different proposed road in the current plans.

We walked up the hill to where a huge banner was fixed alongside the motorway, reading '20 years since Twyford Down. Don't go backwards. No new roads'

This photo was taken by Adrian Arbib and shared on the Roads2Nowhere Facebook page:!/roads2nowhere
I find the numbers of proposed roads shocking, particularly at a time when money is being withdrawn from so many essential public services and when the environment is already being effected by the impact of cuts in many areas of important conservation work. It's up to us to get informed about these plans and the campaigns opposing them which need our support.

Sian Berry at Twyford Down yesterday, who writes the roads blog for the Campaign for Better Transport, a good place to stay informed of what's happening:

One such campaign is the Bexhill-to-Hastings link road, where a sister event took place yesterday:
A map of the proposed road plans can be found here:

Further Media reports:
I'll add further media reports here as I come across them.
There is a big feature in today's Sunday Times but no web link.

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