Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Stanworth Valley sky village
Stanworth Valley sky village. Photo: Andrew Testa.

Road Wars - SQUALL'S road protest round up and down the country

No M65 Campaign

- Up In The Air And Facing The Flak

Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 17.

Stanworth Valley in Lancashire is now the site of the biggest ‘sky village’ in Europe. Seventeen tree houses interconnected by aerial walkways, some of which are 60ft in the air. Not far away is another camp set up on Holebottom Wood, one of three connected stretches of woods that together form the largest piece of ancient woodland in Lancashire. Both encampments stand in the way of an M65 extension, and are packed with environmental protesters determined to prevent Amec construction from carrying out their destruction.

“The Campaign is hotting up, we are reaching the eleventh hour,” says Larch, one of the No M65 protesters.

Several protesters that have also been squatting six cottages in the proposed path of an M65 slip road, since last December. They have a court date in mid- February and are expecting the bailiffs around the end of the same month.

“We’ve got about twenty lock-ons, bunkers and major reinforcements,” continues Larch. “It’s like a mini war-zone.”

The determination, as well as the methods of preparation, are similar to those cultivated at Claremont.

“The occupation of these homes will send a clear message to the Government that we shall defend Lancashire from the bulldozer to the last house and the last blade of grass and beyond,” promises Hyper, another of the No M65 protesters.

The proposed twelve mile route will destroy over 50 homes, as well as steep-wooded valleys, woodlands and other wildlife habitats. It will also pass within yards of local schools.

The Department of Transport are currently in the process of seeking an eviction order against the tree-dwellers. The best that a Blackburn councillor could come up with to explain the necessity for more environmental destruction was that “it will attract industry and improve the quality of life”. High levels of unemployment have made the demand for jobs a major issue. To address this demand, interest should be directed towards creating sustainable employment; not just levering an environmentally-destructive preagenda with the quick dangle of a shortterm job carrot. Meanwhile, the protesters at the No M65 encampments find themselves far from unemployed as they prepare to defend their woodland position against the bulldozers and bureaucrats, set to arrive in drove in the coming months.

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Road Wars - SQUALL's road protest round up and down the country - other stories from this issue - No M77 battle hots up in Scotland - 'free state of Pollok' / Policy Shift or Shifty Policy? / A30 Honiton-Exeter on the back burner / The Third Battle of Newbury pitched against vested interests
For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here