EVICTION STARTED early this morning at Dalkeith Park (Scotland) Protest Sites - can still get down there & help

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Eviction Aruga!!

DALKEITH COUNTRY PARK- ANTI A68 BYPASS PROTEST CAMPAIGN
PRESS STATEMENT- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 JANUARY 2006

Eviction of the four protest sites in Dalkeith Country Park against the construction of the A68 Bypass and the destruction of the River Esk wildlife corridor began this morning.

At around 4.30 a.m. this morning eviction of the protest sites in Dalkeith Country Park began. Police bailiffs raided one of the sites and have established a security cordon around it. Protestors remain in the trees determined to resist eviction and the cutting of the trees in this part of the River Esk wildlife corridor.

Police are now mobilising climbers and machinery to remove those in the trees. However, protestors have moved high into the trees to complicate the eviction process. They are filled with a passionate desire to protect these woodlands against what is viewed as senseless and inappropriate destruction of a significant ecological habitat.

The first of the four protest sites at Dalkeith Country Park was established on the 31 October 2005 in regards to information that tree felling for the A68 bypass was to proceed immediately. Since that time, all areas in around the park where tree felling is necessary for the proposed bypass have seen the establishment of protest sites to defend against this large-scale habitat destruction. The number of people involved in protesting the routing of the A68 Bypass through the country park has increased significantly since the establishment of the first protest site and includes strong support from many people local to the Dalkeith area.

Campaigners are adamant that before construction on the A68 bypass continues, a new Public Inquiry needs to occur. Since planning permission was granted for the bypass in 1993, all information regarding the need for its construction is dated from 1992 or earlier. A proper Environmental Impact Assessment has never been completed, the last Public Inquiry was in 1992, and the need for this bypass has not properly been reassessed since major changes to the transport infrastructure of the area (the dualling of the A1, the building of the A7 Dalkeith bypass, and the potential reopening of the Borders Rail Link). In 1999, the Strategic Road Review stated that the A68 Northern bypass should be held in abeyance until the completion of the Multi-Modal Transport study (to be completed in 2006) which would consider the need for the bypass with regards to these change.

10:30am
The police and bailiffs are working on the Top Site. The sites at Bottom and Middle still have everyone in place and are accessible. Please get along and support if you can (and while you can).

2pm
The top site has been fenced off, and two people arrested there so far, the other two are freely accessable for now but it is said may be evicted Tuesday and Wednesday.
At least one person is still to be taken from trees and at least one from a tunnel, at top site.
Climbers are removing structure from trees.
There is a Scottish Executive Press Officer and a Police Press Officer on site.

Update - Monday afternoon
Last info I have, they are still working on top site. They have fenced in middle site. Bottom site was still open and people there were calling for more support. However, they said that baliffs were on the way to bottom site to fence it off too.
However, those going out have been stopped by police before reaching the park and are than escorted to the 'viewing area' close to top site. Police have blocked people from entering the park and from going to either bottom or middle site.
Vans have been leaving regularly from the Forest Cafe to take people to Dalkeith. The eviction is far from over, and support will still be crucial over the following days. Even if you can't get into one of the sites, being there to view the eviction process and show solidarity is vital!