Eco-warriors dig in to defy bailiffs

BAILIFFS continued their efforts yesterday to dislodge protesters from a network of tunnels under the proposed route of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, just as the Government confirmed start dates for several new road-building projects.

Environmental activists have constructed tunnels with concrete-enforced entrances beneath Moneymore Cottages, on the edge of the motorway route near the village of Weeford, Staffordshire.

Bailiffs working for county officials brought one protester out of a tunnel after a struggle yesterday. But up to 10 more were still believed to be underground. Efforts were continuing to dislodge them.

The planned pounds 400m, 27-mile motorway - intended to link the M42 at Coleshill with the M6 at Cannock - has been described as unnecessary and a blight on the environment by a coalition of residents and eco-warriors. Protesters include "Muppet Dave" and other veterans of campaigns at Manchester Airport and Newbury bypass. The current battle follows an 11-year saga since the road was first proposed. A public inquiry in 1994 and 1995 - the longest held into a road scheme - eventually gave the go-ahead.

Environmental groups reacted angrily yesterday as the Government confirmed starting dates for 24 roads and details of the next stage of 13 more projects, including five to be built under private-public partnerships. The schemes were all listed in the Government's roads review in the summer.

Lord Whitty, the Roads Minister, said the announcement of firm dates allowed the Government to "clarify matters for all concerned". He added: "This is a realistic, achievable programme which we are committed to taking forward, and which reflects our new integrated approach to transport."

Roger Higman, transport spokesman for the environmental group Friends of the Earth, said road-building was an "expensive, destructive and ultimately self-defeating way of dealing with traffic problems". He added: "Instead of wasting money on these projects, the Government should invest in traffic management, bus priority and cycle schemes, which provide far more relief for far less money."

Lynn Sloman, of the Transport 2000 campaign group, said: "There are some [schemes] that are clearly not appropriate, where there is local concern and where the full range of alternatives has not been explored." The most unpopular schemes included Bingley relief road in West Yorkshire, the A27 Polegate bypass in East Sussex and the A120 Stansted-to-Braintree road in Essex.

The Birmingham Northern Relief Road, currently the subject of protest, is being built and will be run by Midlands Expressway, a joint venture between the Norwegian firm, Kvaerner, and Autostrade, which runs Italian toll roads. Motorists will be charged pounds 2.50 to use the highway, an alternative and - in theory - less congested route to the M6.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world