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paul | 20.01.2005 13:54 | Ecology | Oxford

Work on the controversial Stoke Hammond to Linslade bypass has been temporarily halted due to the pressures of protests, local campaigners have just learned. Buckinghamshire County Council have said that work has been suspended on police advice while the security situation is reviewed. This follows the arrest yesterday of two women who chained themselves to a an excavator, with other local people standing in front of chainsaw crews. Local residents who turned up to stop any work this morning witnessed the machinery being loaded up and removed from the area. Buckinghamshire County Council have had an emergency meeting, and have told Friends of the Earth that work is to be suspended for several days.

South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth campaigner Victoria Harvey said:

"These few days' grace are very welcome, but the council should be using the time to review whether the bypass will actually benefit local people, not the security arrangements. They have not produced a single argument to support this scheme, as all their own figures say the congestion will be as bad in a few years time. We all know that this road is simply a way for the Prescott to dump his 'Growth Area' on us. It is not a bypass, but simply an access road for housing development.

We plan to use this time to make sure we are even more ready if the contractors are prepared to come back. Our message to the contractors is to give up this contract while they have the chance."

Protests started on Monday 17th January as Road Block, the national alliance against road building was launched. Work has been stopped on each day by local residents.

Daily updates are posted by local residents on
Please see also

South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth: Victoria Harvey on 01525 385 097 and 07815 817108 or
Road Block: Rebecca Lush on 07854 693067 or Melanie Jarman on 01803 847649 or

The contractors for the preliminary scheme, Fitzpatricks, are on 01992 305000
The tree felling contractors, Homegrown Timber Ltd, are on 01293 852700
Buckinghamshire County Council are on 01296 382055

[1] The Stoke Hammond and Linslade Western Bypass is the first of four bypasses, which will provide a dual carriageway between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. This is in one of the Government's 'growth areas', with Milton Keynes set to have 44,000 new homes by 2021, South Bedfordshire 26,000, and Aylesbury 15,000.
[2] Victoria Harvey (36) and Rebecca Lush (32) were chained to a digger for over 2 hours, and were finally arrested for 'aggravated trespass'. They have bailed to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates court on Friday 28th January 2005, at 10am. Anonymous local supporters have already pledged to pay Victoria's fines.
[3] Road Block is a national alliance of community groups and individuals opposed to new roads. New groups from Edinburgh to Cornwall, via the route of the proposed 51-mile M6 Expressway, are joining the Road Block alliance.
[4] For more info on road schemes see
[5] Support for people taking direct action against road building is available from Road Alert! at

Road Block
01803 847 649 / 07854 693 067

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