Birmingham North Relief Road evictions
Update: 14th Jan 1999
Bailiffs, police and security moved into the Greenwood protest site on route of the proposed Birmingham northern relief road (BNRR) at 6pm this evening and begun the process of evicting the protesters from the site.
At the time only 3 people were on site, one protester was talking to the liaison police man who, to the protesters surprise arrested him for breaching bail conditions. The 2 other protesters standing outside the kitchen area were arrested by 50 or so police who stormed the camp at the same time.
The police claimed vacant possession of the land because no one was in the structure, the section 12 and section 6 notices put up by the protesters were ignored. No warning was given by the Sheriff.
Protesters had offered to vacate the site if the trees were not going to be felled.
Protester Ian said: "I don't understand the Police evicting like this, this sort of sneak eviction has proved dangerous in the past, I'm surprised the police took this option especially as there actions would appear to be illegal."
A Nuclear Bunker on route of the proposed 27 mile private toll motor way was occupied over the weekend but the police swooped and arrested 6 people on Sunday afternoon. The charges were for criminal damage and burglary, although there was no suggestion anything had been stolen from the site.
Protesters on the remaining site's are preparing for further evictions in the near future.
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Update: 18th Dec
(from SchNEWS 196, 18 Dec 1998)
'Sorted Dave' who died of a heart condition on site of the proposed Birmingham Northern Relief Road in April was evicted from one of the protestors tunnels this week. His ashes were placed in an urn and concreted into a lock-on in a tunnel at the request of his family. The tunellers known as the "men-in-black" removed the urn after his seven day eviction ordeal. Unlike other protesters Dave was not arrested or bailed off the site and it is believed that he intends to continue campaigning for many more years to come!
Meanwhile the eviction of the Moneymore cottages continues with two people remaining in tunnels after 10 days. The police compound was dismantled by protesters yesterday,while Security guard defector Dean Smith was arrested for obstruction following his debut tunnel eviction when he stayed underground for 3 days.
A mass e-mail to newspapers and the Dept.of Transport is planned for next week to call for another public enquiry. Local Methodist Minister, David Shawcross, known as the "Manic Tree Preacher" is set to resist eviction at the Greenwood site, by D-locking himself to a tree. Massive potential for the campaign remains with 27 miles of predominantly greenbelt land for new camps and squats. The road is planned to be three times the length of the recently opened Newbury Bypass at a cost of £700 million. Site Mobile 07970 301978 The alliance against the BNRR: 0121 6326909.
Meanwhile in the second of the two tunnels, Disco Dave suffering from a swollen ankle, toothache and complete exhaustion decided to leave the tunnel voluntarily after being locked on for several days in an extremely uncomfortable position. There had been not opportunity to reposition with bailiffs working throughout the nights.
Steven Hill, a protester said: "These people have endured seven uncomfortable days underground so far. This is because they are committed to exposing Labour's broken election promise and it's lack of protection for the environment."
Three protesters now remain in the tunnels while above ground, preparations are underway for dinner and a game of football between protesters and security guards on Christmas Day.
UPDATE: 11 Dec 98
(from SchNEWS 195, 11 Dec 1998)
In a surreal version of Custer's Last Stand the communications and office caravan for campaigners at Britians first toll road has had the police and security compound built around it!
Last night police confiscated mobile phones and address books from people on site leaving the office as the only way of communicating with the site. The caravan door is guarded by four plod and the occupants are not allowed to leave or even look out the window. "They keep coming in and searching the place whilst we are trying to carry on campaign business".
Although 3 or four people have been arrested the eviction has so far been low key and fluffy. The 'men in black' have still been unable to get in to the tunnel system but in a worrying move considering the continous rain is turning the ground to mud, baillifs have started laying heavy metal tracks over the tunnels to bring in equipment, this makes their claims of health and safety breaches by the underground activist moles ridiculous. The 'men in black' have been identified as 'Specialist International Rescue' which has nothing to do with the right on 'International Rescue who do such good work helping in natural disaster situations and in places like Bosnia.
Before the Labour Party swept to victory, Frank Dobson, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport at the time, said: "The Labour Party is opposed to the building of the Birmingham NorthernRelief Road". The eviction is expected to be themost difficult yet, with protesters defending the site in speciallyconstructed lock-ons and tunnels.Construction work on the BNRR is due to start in January 1999,costing an estimated £700 million . All communications with the campaign are now from Birmingham FOE 0121 632 6909 Site mobile 0467 622 825
BNRR Web page: http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/3081/bnrr.html
Update: 27 November 1998
Evictions of squats at the Birmingham North Relief Road began officially last Tuesday, as police, paramedics, the full team of Welsh bailliffs and Manchester security surrounded Moneymore Cottages and began assembling a compound and press tower, giving a press conference and verbal warning to the activists.
A Highways Agency spokesman said to expect a 'low-key 'eviction in their campaign to build a 6 lane toll motorway through the West Midlands Green Belt As SchNEWS went to press there was access to the site and Greenwood camp, but media access has been blocked with BBC Midlands and Birmingham Live having their press passes confiscated and being banned from site!
Construction of the 27 mile road is due to start in January 1999 and will cost £700 million to destroy miles of Green belt, 2 sites of special scientific interest, archeological sites, sites of ecological interest, homes and farmland.
Codename 'Operation Encompass' is taking the issue of safety into a new realm with dialogue between police and protesters resulting in the threat of manslaughter and aggravated criminal damage charges with potential life sentences for activists should anything go wrong in the tunnels! Whilst campaigners have dubbed this as scaremongering, police state that the only way to absolve their criminal liability in the event of an accidental injury is to avoid the risk entirely.
Midlands Against Super Highway (M.A.S.H) have assembled specialist treehouses, tunnels, bunkers and towers, and believe that although the possible charges would be very difficult to prove, if they do pull this one it will have considerable consequences on the non violent direct action tunnel tactics implemented by us in this country.
NOW IS THE TIME to step up the campaign large stylee to Britain's first private toll motorway the scale of Newbury or Fairmile. Get down there for a bit of the old eviction fever.....NOW.......
Camp Mobiles: 07970 301978, 07971 354045