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Local residents blow whistles in the snow to stop the Link Road

Today, Monday 11 March, opponents of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) braved the snow to blow whistles outside the local Department for Transport (DfT) office in Hastings – and leafleted workers going into the DfT’s Information Rights. The action launched a call for DfT workers to “Blow the Whistle on the Link Road” by leaking the Department’s blacked-out recommendations about whether or not to fund the £100m project. HOT’s Erica Smith applauds the campaigners for another creative protest.

If there were Oscars for protesting, the Combe Haven Defenders would sweep the board with their relentless and inventive campaigning. So far, on top of the weeks of sleeping in trees in freezing weather, there have been zombie road protests, animals at County Hall and delivery of a tree to the Department for Transport head office in London.

 

 

 

All of these actions are a positive celebration of the right to protest, and defy the Daily Mail readers who moan about “Getting a Job” and  “Bussed-in Trustafarians”. The people whistling in the snow at 8am this morning were all local residents – many of them on their way to work. The ‘whistle-blowing’ and the ‘redacted sign’ show that a sense of humour is the best way to get your message across.

The event is part of ‘Operation Disclosure’, a month-long initiative that aims to bring pressure on the Department to release the secret documents. If the DfT fails to comply by 5 April then local residents will attempt to enter the Department to peacefully search for, copy and distribute them themselves. The campaign is supported by Green MP Caroline Lucas. Last week she tabled a Parliamentary Question calling for the unredacted documents to be published and placed in the House of Commons Library.

Emily Johns, a spokesperson for the Operation Disclosure inititative, said: “According to the Department for Transport, East Sussex County Council has ‘significantly overstate[d] the benefits’ of the Link Road, ‘double-counting productivity improvements’ and dramatically overstating the number of jobs that would be created. However, the public is not allowed to see the Department’s recommendations about using public money to fund this environmentally-disastrous white-elephant project. We call on all those who work for the DfT to blow the whistle on the Link Road by emailing a copy of the unredacted documents to us via www.operationdisclosure.wordpress.com.”

For more information about the anti-Link Road campaign, visit www.combehavendefenders.org.uk

Posted 14:34 Monday, Mar 11, 2013 In: Campaigns

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