Third Battle of Newbury
Press Information - for immediate release
20 February 1996
CAMPS REPRIEVED AS HIGH COURT BACKS PROTESTERS
Protest camps in Pen Wood were given a Reprieve yesterday in the High Court as campaigners were given a Stay of Execution until an Appeal had been heard on 29 February. Papers for Leave to Appeal and a Stay of Execution for all the other threatened camps along the route, will be lodged at the High Court tomorrow (21st February). If this is successful then the camps are protected from eviction until all the Appeals have been heard. At the Appeals, the campaigners will be arguing that the Secretary of State for Transport is not entitled to possession of the land needed for the bypass, due to breaches of European environmental legislation and shall be asking the judge to refer the case to the European Courts of Justice.
On Monday, 19 February, camps in Pen Wood were given Possession Orders enabling the Under Sheriff to evict these camps. However, the self-representing protesters lodged an Appeal immediately and asked for a Stay of Execution. This was granted by the Judge (Sir John Wood) and means that the Writs of Possession cannot be executed and the camps cannot be evicted until the Appeals have been heard. The Appeal on 29 February, giving a 9 day reprieve.
Papers for Leave to Appeal and a Stay of Execution for the Reddings Copse camp (which was due to be evicted today but wasn't due to bad weather) were lodged at the High Court today. This was also served by fax on the Treasury Solicitor, the Under Sheriff and the Highways Agency. In correspondence to the campaign solicitor on 19 February, the Treasury Solicitor has stated that:
"I have no intention of instructing him (the Sheriff) not to enforce those Writs until such time as application for leave to appeal and a stay of execution is applied for and a hearing date is fixed"
Similar papers will be lodged at the High Court tomorrow (Wednesday 21st February 1996) for the Snelsmore Common camp, the Kennet camp, the Chase camp and Elmore Plantation.
Papers to set aside a Possession Order for the Bagnor camp will also be lodged tomorrow at the High Court - thus giving unnamed occupants at the camp the right to a full and fair hearing.
For further information, please contact Rebecca Lush at the Third Battle of Newbury on 01635 45544 or John Dunkley, the campaign solicitor at EarthRights, on 0171 278 1005.