People Needed to stop eviction, Dalkeith, Scotland - update & contacts

05.12.2005

Dalkieth Country Park - only seven miles from Edinburgh city centre - is threatened by a road. Three tree protest camps have been set up in the park and eviction notices have been served by the Scottish Executive and local council. People are URGENTLY needed to stay at the site. See Indymedia Scotland for up-dates, more info' and pictures - http://scotland.indymedia.org/

On Monday 21st November a number of trees were felled to make way for the Scottish Executive’s A68 Dalkeith Bypass. The trees that were cut down have been identified as potential bat roost and include ancient oaks over 200 years old.

The trees appear not to have been cut in accordance with Scottish Natural Heritage and the Executive’s own guidelines. SNH have been reluctant to tell their paymasters to follow the law. We believe that due to low temperatures the bats have already started hibernating.

In response to the destruction and SNH’s inaction, trees under immediate threat have been occupied. The occupation is part of a wide ranging campaign involving different groups and individual from Dalkeith and around the world.

A community roadshow has visited local areas to promote a model of development which values sustainability, public transport and community involvement. The roadshow exposed the Scottish Executive’s Midlothian Council’s failure to enhance public transport or reduce dependence on the private car, preferring to create dormitory communities and a new road. This type of development, in the absence of the promised multi-modal approach will certainly lead to more traffic in Dalkeith on the A68 and on the city bypass, making it impossible to achieve air quality improvements and co2 emission targets.

Occupations have occurred at three points on the road where habitats are under threat. All three sites have been served with eviction notices.

Eviction is imminent as is the loss of our natural habitat. Defences are being erected to resist eviction while the few remaining legal options are being investigated. We urgently need support in many different forms. Come stand in the way of the bulldozers, get up a tree and help defend it, support us in the legal campaign, donate us money, chocolate, blankets, rope, tarpaulins, hot food, tinned food for eviction, nuts, love, mobile phones and credit, visits, tools, vehicle use, climbing equipment, water and your energy.

The trees need YOU! Come to the woods.

BACKGROUND INFO AND CONTACTS

Dalkeith Country Park is a historic 850 acre park that serves as a valuable wildlife habitat and is visited by 50,000 people annually. The proposed bypass would cut the wildlife habitat in two, and while the 1999 Strategic Road Review noted it would offer journey savings, it also noted the bypass would cause "generally negative ratings in the other environmental factors, including global air quality, water, ecology, visual impacts, heritage, and landscape character."

Although construction is not supposed to begin officially until the summer of 2006, because of the early spring nesting season of birds and bats, tree-felling is to begin immediately. In response to this emergency, anti-roads protesters have set-up a tree-sit and walkways in the pines that are in the path of the extension.

Protesters will remain in the trees until the bypass is defeated.

CONTACT

Dalkeith Protest Site Phone: 077839043697

For more information on the campaign to Save Dalkeith Country Park, visit the website of the legal campaign: www.save-dalkeith-park.org.uk/

EVICTION ALERT
It is crucial that when the police arrive to evict the tree-sit (likely early in the morning) that people be there to provide support, witness any possible brutality by the police, and take note of any possible neglect of environmental regulations by tree-cutters. Since the eviction can happen anytime, it would be useful if you could e-mail your phone number and/or e-mail address to:

dalkeithtreesit@cyber-rights.net

In the case of an eviction, we will call you, e-mail you, and SMS(text) you the word Eviction. Then you should e-mail and call all your friends to come on down to Dalkeith! A bus will be available to leave within an hour to leave for Dalkeith Park from outside the Automous Centre and outside the Forest Cafe. This bus will then go straight to the Dalkeith Park tree-sit, and will provide a lift back into town. If you are media please write 'MEDIA' in the subject of your reply e-mail.

The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh is at 17 West Montgomery Place, junction with Brunswick Road, near the huge Post Office, off Leith Walk.

The Forest Cafe is at 3 Bristo Place, near Bristo Square and the Student Union of Edinburgh University.

To contact the protesters directly, call
07783904369

DIRECTIONS to the Protest Site

The site is in a stand of pines on the north side of the River Esk after the two branches have joined and near the cut for the overhead electric lines.

Enter Dalkeith Country Park at the north end- entrance off of the A6094 at Smeaton Lodge (between Dalkeith and Whitecraig). Go past Home Farm towards the River Esk, after crossing the bridge the protest site can be accessed by the first farm track on the left (note the site is not accessible for vehicles).

Alternatively, enter Dalkeith Country Park from the main entrance off of the High Street in Dalkeith. Stay on the road leading to the right past the adventure playground, shop and cafeteria; after passing the grazing fields and the power line cut the road will split. Take the left fork towards the River Esk. After crossing the bridge, the protest site can be accessed by the first farm track on the left.

From Edinburgh, Lothian Buses 3 and 3a go to Dalkeith.

Dalkieth Country Park protestors