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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER DIRT DIGGIN'...
Published in Brighton by
Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 183, 18th September 1998
SchNEWS Benefit - bands and techno - Tax £1.00: 7.30 Friday 18th Sept
"You can't move a grassland without changing its environment - and if you
change that, the community of plants and animals it supports is bound to change
too. The first prerequisite for protecting an SSSI* is to leave it where it is.
Quite simply, if you move it, you lose it."
- Dr Richard
Jefferson, English Nature ecologist
The sign on the entrance to Ashton Court Park reads. "You are visiting
a beautiful and peaceful park. Help keep it that way so that everyone can enjoy
it." So what do North Somerset Council do? They give planning permission for
the extension of Pioneer Aggregates Durnford Quarry into 20 acres of the park!
But how come a park given in 1959 to the people of Bristol, under the condition
that "no part of it should be set aside for works which would detract from its
value as a recreation ground or prejudice the enjoyment of the people" can be
excavated for minerals? You tell us!
Despite ongoing protests, Pioneer began removing topsoil from
the park's wildflower meadow last week, which is a site of Nature Conservation
Interest, and home to three rare species of wild orchids as well as nesting
skylarks, foraging bats, and badgers. The company plan to spend £1 million
to remove 51 per cent of the twenty acre site in two metre square chunks, to be
relaid half a mile away in a field on the other side of the quarry.
This process is known as translocation - and it has been an unmitigated
disaster when tried elsewhere round the country.
"The idea that nature is so resilient that you just shift it around
somewhere else and carry on has to be rejected."
Bullock. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology
FAILED: Warwickshire Wildlife Trust acted as consultants for
the translocation of a meadow supporting 'almost all the unusual and rare
meadow plants found in Warwickshire'. The meadow was in the way of a
supermarket. An 'impossibly tight timescale rushed the process of finding a
receptor site.' Result? Sedges and reeds became dominant and nearly all the
species present in the original meadow disappeared. The Trust said they would
not invest so much voluntary time or money in a similar endeavour, should the
situation arise again.
FAILED: Twyford Down, Hampshire. In 1992 the DoE arranged for
a flood meadow at Hockley Junction, lying in the path of the M3, to be
translocated to an island in the River Test, 16 miles away. The receptor meadow
was 'of poor agricultural quality.' Result? After initially being trampled by
sheep, the translocated areas have since subsided due to the cracks in the
turves ( the cut up pieces of topsoil) accelerating the peat drying out.
FAILED: Selar Farm, West Glamorgan. 'A remnant of
traditionally managed farmland, a mixture of flower-rich grassland, ancient
woodland, scrub and streams, that had survived years of destruction caused all
round by coal mining, urban development and conifer plantations.' The
meadow was home to the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly and was on land
designated for opencast mining by British Coal Opencast and Celtic Energy. In
1994 the meadow was moved.
'In a couple of years we will have to write off this site for the Marsh
Fritillary. It is another nail in the coffin of this nationally rare and
- P. Kirkland, Western Mail, March
'As far as we are concerned it is a successful project,
and the planned process of re-introducing the butterflies, which has been
happening, will continue.'
- Celtic Energy,
Western Mail 1996
'We visited the site in 1997 and reported that no adults
had been seen that year. Current indications are it may well have died
- John Davis, Butterfly Conservation
Organisation, Sep 1998
SAVED: Brock's Farm, Devon. Owners of this SSSI, English
China Clays International planned to relocate this site to allow them to tip
ball clay waste. 'The show of green-winged orchids is enough to
leave you breathless.' In July this year ECCI told a Public Inquiry
that they could prevent the loss of the grassland site by moving it to another
location. English Nature objected, presenting evidence to show that previous
attempts to transplant grasslands, both at Brock's Farm and elsewhere in
England, had all failed. The inspector ruled in favour of the site remaining
exactly where it is.
"Translocation should never be offered as an alternative to opposing a
- John Davis, Butterfly Conservation
Pixies are asked to keep visting Ashton Court as the project will take about
three months to complete. There is a safe camp nearby. Contact Ashton Court
Quarry Campaign - 0467 430211 or 07970 423834
VOCABWATCH: A SSSI is a Site of Special Scientific Interest
designated by English Nature, the government's own conservation body.
For damaging a fire exit door: Kate Evans (her of 'Copse' -
the cartoon book of road protesting fame), was enjoying a free drink or twenty
at another DiY booklaunch, when security took a dislike to her dog being in the
building. After a bit of a struggle they threw Kate against a fire-exit door
and then had her arrested - charged with damaging the door to the tune of
For going to a seminar: About 40 police officers took part in
an early morning raid of an International Seminar on Globalisation and
Resistance being held in Geneva at the end of last month. 50 participants, from
17 countries, were taken in riot vans to the local police station - including a
6 year old girl from the Ukraine - and questioned about Peoples Global
Action.Speakers at the 16 day seminar included international
economists,journalists, representatives of people's movements, and workers from
grassroots organisations. A Nepali human rights worker commented "For me it
is unthinkable that such police action in violation of human rights should take
place in the same city as the UN Human Rights Commission headquarters."
The raid is part of a crackdown by the authorities after three days of rioting
in May during 'celebrations' of the World Trade Organisation in Geneva (see
Victoy! Campaigners up the trees at the Bass Recreation Ground
in Derby are coming back down to earth following a Council decision to change
road plans. Instead of going through the Park the road will now shave away the
The Camp at St.Mary's Churchyard in Southampton has been
disbanded after the Church scaled down plans to build business units, apartment
blocks etc. in the churchyard.
All these protest camps have (we think) been issued Possesion Orders and so
could be evicted any time soon.
- Birmingham Northern relief road Tel: 07970
301978/932224.Trying to stop the construction of Britains first toll motorway.
- Crystal Palace. Campaigning against a twenty screen
multiplex cinema to be built on inner city green space. Tel: 07957 938 784
(site mobile) / 0181 761 7826.
- Arthurs wood,due for the chop because it apparently
obstructs the satellite and radar reception of the Manchester Runway 2 airport
extension Tel: 0161 998 1888 / 07775 602954.
- Radstock Railway Campaign fighting a housing development
Tel: 01761 432273.
- Swindon - Fighting a housing development in Shrivenham
(just north of Swindon). Sorry no phone number.
The countries first ever heritage protest camp in Central Oxford was finally
evicted last Friday evening after 60 hours and 17 arrests. Taking 10 times
longer than predicted by the acting Sheriff Nicholas Blandy, (he of Newbury
by-pass fame), the eviction cost Oxford University up to 1/2
million! The listed London Midland Scottish railway building
had been squatted to stop a new six-lane road junction and a University
Business School (part funded by a dodgy arms dealer) The plans by Oxford
University were never open to public consultation, and fly in the face of over
10,000 protest signatures. Arrests included Green Party Councillor Mike Woodin
who was nicked after complaining about the wrong trees getting the chop!!(Eight
officially to be chain-sawed, but clueless blunderers still got the wrong
ones!) Damage was also done to the listed building - one copper even falling
through the roof. This whole saga has rekindled a centuries-old feud : Town
vs Gown. Thanks to widespread press coverage, the whole of the County has
seen Oxford University run riot over the Gateway to Oxford. One activist told
Schnews "The time has come to show the University that Oxford is NOT their
playground, it is our HOME."
- BREATHE, c/o 38a Walton Crescent, Oxford Tel: 07970 343 486 Email:
- Oxford Reclaim the Streets Saturday 26th September,
meeting 12 noon at Carfax tower (between Queens Street and Cornmarket Street)
More details available from 04325 148539
Sometime in September, police forces are springing a one-day nationwide
roadblock check to snare "illegal immigrants, benefit cheats and anyone of
'interest' to the police". Codenamed "Operation Mermaid" the exercise will be
conducted alongside a triple-whammy of immigration officials, benefits agency
inspectors and customs officers, wired up with on site laptops to run names and
numbers through DSS and police databases. Operations co-ordinator Bob Nockalls
of the West Midlands force gives his own PR pitch: "People are in no way
detained for anything other than road traffic matters. Whilst they are in that
check then people like the benefits agency will speak to the occupants. Nobody
can make anyone speak to the benefits agency." This surveillance swoop is
the latest in a series of UK operations led by local forces. So far, 93,000
drivers have been stopped, leading to 673 arrests and 5,500 vehicles being
taken off the road (no great shame there). Privacy International say Operation
Mermaid is in clear breach of the privacy provisions in the European Convention
on Human Rights. It also breaches several principles of the U.K.'s Data
Protection Act. For example, police can't demand, or even request details
like National Insurance numbers, because this information is outside the stated
reason for detaining the motorist .Detention by police can be a harrowing and
frightening experience, and previous studies indicate that motorists see
themselves as "suspects" and often feel obliged to comply with any request for
information. If you've been detained as part of Operation Mermaid let Privacy
International know at
Meanwhile in an operation already underway police and DSS officials are
'shadowing' London Underground ticket collectors looking for claiments going
to work, illegal immigrants and 'muggers'.
- Remember - you don't have to answer any
questions put by police or government officials. You don't
have to provide documentation of any description to benefits agency
officials. Police can only ask for relevant information or documents - usually
insurance papers, registration papers and drivers licence.
And don't forget, the last Mass Tresspass on the South Downs of the
summer, this Sunday (20th) Meet 12 noon outside Brighton Train Station.
- Full Enjoyment Not Full Employment is the name of the
Glasgow Radical Festival being held during the first week of October, and
promises to be "A celebration of Do It Yerself and Oppositional Culture" More
info c/o Fahrenheit bookshop, Virginia Galleries, 31-33 Virginia St., Glasgow
- If you've got any dirt on Richard Turner Ltd - the company
that hires the 'scab' climbers used in evictions, then let Corporate Watch
know, as they are planning an article for the next issue of their magazine.
Send to Box E, 111 Magdalen Rd, Oxford, OX4 1RQ Email:
- As part of Gene Week, there's a Day of Action against
Tesco on Friday 2nd October, to pressure them to remove Genetically
Modified Organisms from their own brands. Contact Genetic Engineering Network
0181 3749516 Email:
- Against the 'ethnic cleansing' rampage in Kosova, a 'Kosova
Solidarity March' is planned for Sunday 4th October ... MEET Hyde Park
Corner 11-12 am, MARCH at 12 am, RALLY 1.30 pm Trafalger Square. Protesting
against the Albanian apartheid in Europe, systematic destruction of villages
and complete lack of UN intervention (as ever)against human rights
atrocities...more details 0181 674 2528.
- Fancy a bit of Hell in Hull? and that's not just visiting
the place! From Sunday September 27th -Wednesday 30th September the Disabled
Peoples Direct Action Network (DAN) have planned their 11th National Action
which needs YOU to bombard Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
with the simple request of Accessible Transport by 2007. More info
(accommodation/ transport). 0181 889 1361
- Highly recommended is the PorkBolter, Worthing's monthly
newsheet about what's really going on in the town. The September issues is out
now, but also see if they've got any of August's 'Standing Up To Big Brother'.
SAE and donation to PO Box 4144, Worthing, BN14 7NZ. Every town should have one!
- The UK's first annual "Big Brother Awards" are taking
place in London on 26th October. Organisers Privacy International are calling
for government, corporate, and legislative policy nominations. To vote for your
Big Brother, email P.I. on
or write to Privacy International c/o on the fiddle, PO Box2600, Brighton, E.
- There's a Demo at Shamrock Farm (breeders of monkeys for
experiments),on Thursday the 24th. Transport from Brighton : meeting point is
2.30 pm outside Harvest Forestry New England St
- The Okasional squat cafe in
Manchester has a new home
- an old pub at 111 Newton Street.
- If you're interested in learning about permaculture get in
touch with Naturewise who are holding an introductory weekend at the end of
this month 0171 281 3765
- For a while now a cyberbased collective called The Electronic
Disturbance Theatre (EDT) has been supporting the Zapatistas in Mexico
(SchNEWS 174/5). The idea behind EDT is to create mass protest in Cyberspace
using tactics such as thousands of people sending faxes and emails to the same
embassy or government at exactly the same time. These computerized versions of
Critical Masses are called FloodNet and during the course of the last 7
FloodNet Actions some 80,000 plus have participated. EDT want to use this new
tactic on other campaigns, if you would like to participate in or know more
about FloodNet, email:
- Three Days of Action, Art, and Anarchy for queers of all
sexualities. 25-27th Sept. at the 121 club, 121 Railton Rd,
Richard Dixon and Rose Browning both jailed
recently for 'conspirarcy to recklessly endanger life and cause criminal
damage' have been freed on bail pending an appeal. They had both been found
guilty of cutting a private railway line into Whately Quarry, which is
destroying the Mendip Hills. The rail line was a private line running into the
quarry and there was never any danger to life, due to warning lights being
placed up and down the track, and phone calls to the media.
Animal Rights Campaigner Ben Thompson has won a mega important
victory for prisoners rights. On Thursday his second hunger strike was called
off after Deputy Governor Serjent of HMP Bullingdon agreed to his demands for a
healthy and complete vegan diet that is free from Genetically Modified
(GM)contamination. Ben is being held in Bullingdon prison for protesting
against the breeding of cats at Hillgrove Farm for vivisection, he was tricked
into calling off a previous 8-day hunger strike when he was promised GM free
food which then never materialized. Yesterday (Thursday) Ben finally tucked
into a GM free breakfast and was been shown a full menu for the next two day's,
however because of the Dep. Governors trickery Ben is still keeping a hunger
strike option open.A spokesperson for the Genetic Engineering Network (GEN)
said. "GEN will continue to monitor Ben's situation on a daily basis ...If
for some reason these meals are withdrawn, Ben will begin the hunger strike the
following morning without fluids." Whilst Ben was inside GEN was busy
contacting people with the result that the prison was inundated for over 24
hours with faxes of support for Ben from activists to NGOs to scientists and
MPs .A vigil was planned for the entirety of his hunger strike and wholefood
companies and stores gave food donations which although are now not needed,
means Ben will have some top tuck when he gets out in two weeks. Ben has been
blown away by the amount of support shown to him and sends thanks and love to
everyone that has helped in any way. Write to Ben for the next two weeks at:
HMP Bullindon, PO Box 50, Bicester, Oxon, OX6 OPR
Well, what d'you know Britain's poor are worse off than ever, according to a
new report by the United Nations. In fact deprivation, chronic unemployment and
poor levels of literacy has turned the UK into one of the most poverty-stricken
countries in the West. Worldwide, the gap between rich and poor countries has
also widened, with the richest 225 people in the world having a combined wealth
of more than $1 trillion - equal to the annual income of the poorest 47% of the
earths population, some 2.5 billion people.
And Westerners spend $37 billion a year on pet food and perfumes - enough to
provide education, food, health care, water and sanitation for all those now
deprived of the basics - with $9 billion to spare. In fact a child born in New
York, Paris and London will consume, pollute and waste more in their lifetime
than 50 children born in a developing country. The report concludes that
developing countries now face a stategic choice: they could repeat the
industrialisation and growth of the past 50 years, or they could leapfrog to
growth patterns that are pro-environment and pro-poor. SchNEWS wonders which
one they will choose, and in this world of globalisation will they will even
really have a choice?
SchNEWS warns all readers not to get all conspiratorial when
they go to our website and the word 'forbidden' flashes up. Its nothing to do
with M15, M16 or the CIA.(although we'd like it to be, so we can boast about it
down the pub). It will be sorted in the next fortnight. Honest.
Belated happy birthday to old Mick!!
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Last updated 18 September 1998
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SchNEWS Web Team