FOR IMMEDIATE USE: 26 February, 1996
NEWBURY PROTESTORS PLEDGE TO CLEAN UP OIL SPILL IF HIGHWAYS AGENCY HALTS WORK
Campaigners against the Newbury bypass have today written to the Highways Agency calling for a temporary halt to clearance work on the route of the road. The protestors have pledged to mobilise hundreds of people to clean up the Sea Empress oil spill if they can be relieved of their role in protecting the countryside around Newbury.
Members of the 'Third Battle of Newbury' group, who are fighting the road scheme, have become increasingly concerned at the environmental disaster developing from the release of tens of thousands of tonnes of crude oil near to protected shorelines. The protestors are currently defending up to 10,000 mature trees which are being felled on the route of the Newbury bypass to build a four-lane dual carriageway.
The Third Battle of Newbury has asked for a commitment from the Highways Agency for work to stop"for a period of no less than 10 working days, commencing as soon as possible, and no later than this week".
Martin Healer of the Third Battle of Newbury said:
"It is time for us all to work together to defend our natural heritage. We are calling on the Highways Agency to halt work so we can help clean up the disastrous mess that the Sea Empress has left behind".
Friends of the Earth confirmed the need for help at the rocky shorelines of the Bristol Channel.
Gordon James of Friends of the Earth Cymru said:
" The Highways Agency should at least back off to allow committed environmentalists to help out with this pollution damage."
Contact: Martin Healer, 01635 45544 / 45545
Simon Festing, 0385 236977