Direct Action Sites Still Hanging in There
Although the number of protest sites has been in decline since the late 1990s, the tactic may thankfully be starting to have a renaissance. Despite their possible shortcomings (for example see articles in Do or Die No.8, pp. 155-158), they can attract new people to radical ecological action and can still be highly effective at slowing or halting ecologically destructive developments. This is a brief round up of current sites, though more are planned.
Arundel, West Sussex
Over five square km of ancient woodland is threatened, including 100 foot Oaks and Yew trees. Torrington Common, Binsted Woods and the wetlands of the river Arun will all be affected.
The proposed road is part of the planned South Coast motorway, which is being surreptitiously built in segments - further ecological destruction will occur across the South Downs if the new bypass is built at Arundel.
Defences are being built and direct action is being planned; as ever, people and climbing tat are needed in what could become a major campaign.
The site is west of Arundel, 15 minutes walk from Ford railway station on the South Coast line.
Tel: 07736 964 653 or 07792 248 192 (text messages preferred)
D'Hoppe Forest, Belgium
Yes, we know, not in Britain, but probably closer to many of us than Scotland! D'Hoppe is a small village in Belgium whose surrounding forest is adjacent to the Brakelbos nature reserve. The city owned forest, which provides a rich natural habitat, is being attacked by sand quarrying, untreated sewage and an unlawfully functioning landfill operation.
The forest has been occupied since April 2003 - tree houses have been erected and a camp established. Direct action has occurred regularly, targeting the council, the environment ministry, and blockading roads. A whole week of action is happened at the end of June 2003.
The site is located near D'Hoppe/La Hoppe, 8km east of Ronse/Renasi along the N48. Buses 21-25 from Ronse pass the village. From D'Hoppe station continue along the road and take an immediate right. Two hundred metres into the forest there's a path on the left towards the site.
Tel: +32 497 630 312
Faslane Peace Camp, Scotland
At 21 years, the longest running camp in the UK. Faslane Peace camp has continually acted against the nuclear weapons and submarines at Faslane Naval Base, and despite threats of eviction, the camp has survived.
In April 2003, a mass blockade involving a diverse mix of over 600 people happened. Many activists used chain and plastic tube lock-ons to successfully close down the base. Direct action will continue at Faslane to make Scotland nuke free!
The camp is right outside Faslane Naval Base, Shandon, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
Tel: 01436 820 901
Bilston Wood, Scotland
Protestors have erected a site at Bilston Glen to stop the 'realignment' of the A701. The proposed road, which is to be built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) will destroy mature woodland and lead to further industrialisation.
Part of the woodland is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), and contains a medieval bridge and tower. Direct action is needed to prevent the destruction of an important ecosystem.
To get to the camp, upon entering Bilston (8 miles south of Edinburgh towards Penicuik on the A701), there's a footpath opposite the VW garage. Go down the path towards the bridge to the site. Tel: 07986 632 429
Nine Ladies, Derbyshire
The site at Nine Ladies has existed since September 1999. It exists to stop the planned quarrying of Stanton Moor, part of the Peak District National Park. As well as supporting fallow deer, badgers and other wildlife, Stanton Moor is also a Bronze Age burial site including the Nine Ladies stone circle.
The presence of the site has deterred quarry expansion in the Peak District, and direct action has taken place throughout the campaign. Nine Ladies consists of four camps, and is under immediate threat of eviction. As ever, people and equipment are needed.
The OS National Grid reference for the site is SK 247 634. To get there by bus catch the R61 or TransPeak (both TRENT) to Rowsley (Peacock Hotel). Turn left following the sign for Stanton-in-Peak. Keep following this road until you reach a junction, then take the sharp left hand turn, which is signposted Stanton Lees. Carry on past a phone box, and the site entrance is on your right and may have a vehicle (or several) parked near to it. By train you can catch the train to Matlock and proceed from there. There are now various signs marking the entrance. The path leads towards an old barn, near which is the communal bender and an information trailer. Tel: 07876 311 709