Dalkeith protestors defy eviction, end of Monday update

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Dalkeith eviction 1
Dalkeith eviction 2

Protestors are still in the trees and in the protest sites at Dalkeith Country Park. The eviction attempt started Monday 16th early morning, but as of 3pm Monday afternoon three of the four protest sites remain intact. "We urge supporters to come and join us," one of the protestors said. "It's not too late to take a stand against this road madness."

Protestors are opposing the building of the A68 bypass through the Park, just south of Edinburgh. The authorities said today they expect the eviction to take two weeks.
Early this morning Police bailiffs raided one of the sites, top site, and have established a security cordon around it. As of 3pm at least one protestor remained in the trees at Top Site determined to resist eviction and the cutting of the trees in this part of the River Esk wildlife corridor in Midlothian.

Police mobilised climbers and machinery to remove those in the trees. Two arrests were reported. Protestors 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.

As of late Monday afternoon middle site and bottom site of the protest were still intact, with demonstrators still in all the occuppied trees. More protestors were walking into the main bottom site where protestors were still in control of the camp. There was a police presence but they were only monitoring the situation. Indymedia has no confirmed news from the fourth site but it is believed to be intact.

A supporter of the protest told Indymedia :�We call on people to come to Dalkeith Country Park to show solidarity. We cannot let this senseless profit-fuelled destruction go ahead.� Protestors are arranging transport to the site from the Forest Café on Bristo Place in nearby Edinburgh. Other protestors are making their way from Edinburgh by public transport, to join locals from Dalkeith and area (transport info at end of article).

The first of the four protest sites at Dalkeith Country Park was established on the 31 October 2005 due to information that tree felling for the A68 bypass (to be constructed during the summer of 2006) 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.

Transport is being arranged from the Forest Café, Bristo Place, near George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, which is also acting as an info point in Edinburgh. More info 077532 80009

You can also make your way there independently, by Lothian bus 3 and 3a from Edinburgh, directions below.

Dalkeith Protest Site Phone: 07783904369

DIRECTIONS to the main Protest Site
(There are four sites in total)
Please bear in mind the police may be obstructing access.

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. Straight ahead after you go through the gates, then stay on the road leading to the right past the adventure playground, shop and cafeteria; after passing the grazing fields and passing under three power lines cut the road will split. There is a prominent Scots pine here. Take the left fork towards the River Esk. After a short distance, again take the left fork when the road splits and go down the hill. After crossing the bridge, the protest site can be accessed by the first farm track on the left. This is around 35-40 minutes walk.

From Edinburgh, Lothian Buses 3 and 3a go to Dalkeith, you can use a day ticket for this journey.

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