Third Battle of Newbury

NEWS RELEASE - Thursday 4th July 1996



This afternoon Mr Odie of the Highways Agency paid a visit to Newbury F.O.E. offices with a Meridian film crew. He had arranged this with Meridian two days ago, but had not contacted F.O.E. until 10 minutes before.

The purpose of his visit was to request the co-operation of Newbury Bypass protesters in moving the snail habitat. We must clearly state that it is the Highway's Agency NOT the protesters who are threatening the rare Desmoulin's whorl snail. During the discussion we pointed out the content of a report prepared by a respected concologist, Dr M J Willing, in which he states ..

This "habitat re-creation" or translocation is not an answer to the habitat loss, but merely an experiment with an unknown outcome. It is "highly dodgy". From what I have seen and read, and bearing in mind the precise conditions to which this species has become adapted over many thousands of years of natural selective forces, I am afraid that I can only view the translocation proposals as trying to address a complex and, in my judgement, probably unresolvable, problem in a naive and simplistic manner with no sound or accepted scientific foundation"

Dr Willing is one of a number of experts who agree that moving the snail is unlikely to work. Perhaps Mr Odie's visit today was part of a preparation for the excuses that will follow if the movement fails.

In fact this was much more of a P.R. stunt than a genuine attempt to discuss concerns with protesters. We stated that we could not co-operate with any destruction. If they would like to conduct the habitat recreation as an experiment, with a small number of snails, then we would be happy to co-operate.


Contact: 01635-45544/ 5