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SALFORD PEAT PROTEST PART TWO
 

Star date: 16th April 2010

EARTH FIRST! HAND ACCOUNT OF THE PEEL HOLDINGS PROTEST...

Yesterday, campaigners against the destruction of Salford's rare peat bogs on land owned by Peel Holdings took over the site by chaining themselves to diggers and lorries.

The Salford Star reported `live' from the site, interviewing protester, Justin Hocks, while he was locked on to a digger. Here he gives us a first hand account of how Salford residents were stopped from joining the protest, the police tactics used to extract campaigners from the extraction site and the ongoing campaign by Save Our North West Green Belt…

Full Earth First! Hand account here…


EARTH FIRST! HAND ACCOUNT OF THE ACTION BY JUSTIN HOCKS

"We locked on around 10:30am. Some of the workers initially
reacted aggressively, trying to move the digger while people were on it,
using abusive language and assaulting one of our group - though we were
emphasising that we were peaceful and that they were breaking the law by
acting dangerously towards us.

After about twenty minutes of several members of our group talking calmly to them, they stood down and waited for the police to arrive. The police turned up shortly after, trying to talk us down, but we stayed locked on until the Tactical Aid Unit arrived with bolt cutters to extract us.

Interestingly, it seemed they wanted everyone else out of the way, so they could 'deal' with us and get the job done as quickly as possible. We've found out that lots of local people tried to join us, but were being stopped by the police well out of visible distance.

The police Tactical Aid Unit also showed little regard for our safety - their intention was to simply remove me from the digger by any means necessary - which was effectively to try to throw me off it. An ambulance also turned up pre-emptively, which suggests they were anticipating that our extraction would necessitate the use of force, and unnecessary harm to our persons.

I think we managed to stay there for a good while to halt the destruction
of the bog and to get the message out.

After the police released us, we met up with some of the local campaigners from
Save Our North West Greenbelt, who'd had a meeting in the evening, which
was really empowering.

At first I was arrested for aggravated trespass, but then de-arrested and re-arrested after being cut free under new charges. We've been charged, oddly, under Section 4A of the Public Order Act, which covers using words/behaviour to cause harassment/distress, even though our protest was completely non-violent and good humoured.

Our court date is May 10th, 9:30am at Salford Magistrate's Court - a
solidarity demonstration is being planned for this date, and any support
would be gratefully welcomed!"

Did you hear that Salford? May 10th 9:30am at Salford Magistrate's Court – be there!

Ed wrote
at 09:44:14 on 24 November 2010
Here Here to that Nachtschlepper, its scarey to think there are actually people who think its ok to treat peaceful protesters like animals.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 19:15:15 on 23 November 2010
Anon, thank God you are just one lone voice. Were it otherwise we truly would be living in a police state.
 
Anon! wrote
at 16:25:41 on 23 November 2010
I completely support the Police's actions. If you believe you can take direct action by stupidy chaining yourself to a digger then the Police can take direct action by dragging you head first away.
 
Sherlock wrote
at 04:54:18 on 20 May 2010
What is going on today across the mosses of Irlam is rape of a iconic cultural landscape, The last wilderness island of lancashire. I was born on chatmoss, worked on the old peat bogs as a "bog rat" and poached the mosses from ear to ear, from risleymoss to botany bay. My family farmed there, the rudyfaced farmers were a tough lot, but the best guardians for a hundred years by far, coats string tied - they worked there backs gathering veggi under the winter mists and summer sunsets till they dropped,the blundells and shackladies,twiggs and brookes, barnett, warburtons. hicksons, and many more endless names, great fokendi all them. A way of life extinct. I could see all this coming back in the late 70s greed to ravage the mosses, it upset me that much i left never to return, mm for who was i? a megar poacher to stop it happening. Ever since more and more Strangers have moved on the mosses and slowly taken over, "grabbing there bit" some even floggin off the black soil or doing whatever - but usually nothing to do with the traditional way of moss life. It all amounts to disrespecting ancient chatmoss culture and has now distroyed the soul and spirit of this once mystical place. The last day now on the horizon when the sky larks will sing no more and it will all be over, a part of lancashire heritage wiped out by sheer greed. Now Peel Holdings whoever they be - are coming to finish off whats left, rendering the terrain where ever they are allowed with concrete and breeze blocks. No sky lark will ever sing a song over such trash. Irlam and cadishead fokendi should have the guts for once to now stand up, united and organise a day up the moss for the greatest protest rallys ever seen in lancashire against Peel holding. Don,t forget Your families have marched before - Irlam steel works protests 1970/71, now its your turn for Chat Moss and your children! Don,t you owe that much to them? for we enjoyed the mosslands as kids so should nt they. Peel Holdings are like City bankers who have ruined our nation, finacial bullies, your day to fail could be over Irlams ChatMoss - thats if the people of Irlam and Cadishead can come together once again? Very brave protesters and at least they are not scared to make a stand. But not with the peat lads they have mouths to feed - organise a protest rally right across the moss from ear to ear along 12 yards thats the best way forward surely! Its a start. Besto Bokti (best luck) Sam Sherlock
 
jackie anderson wrote
at 23:24:03 on 29 April 2010
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=201970218853&ref=ts Support the Save our greenbelt group and come along to support the protestors at court at 9.00 on MOnday 10 May at Salford Magistrates Court from Earth First
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 11:05:26 on 19 April 2010
@Emma Its not a NIMBY attitude towards this problem, the current government under direction from DEFRA is highlighting how important this resource is to the environment. Peat moss throughout the world holds billions of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas. The licencing of peat extraction has has almost stopped as people are realising the severe impact that it has on the environment. The proposed plan of action for the moss is now going to be methane extraction. This is a process where the methane is extracted by pumping vast quantities of water from the moss and then separating the methane from the water. Then the surplus water is pumped back into the point of extraction, various concerns about this are that peat moss retains thousands of tonnes of other greenhouse gas's such as CO2. A defra report states that: UK soils contain over 10 billion tonnes of carbon, more than half of which is in peatlands. The 2009 Soil Strategy set out the Government’s approach to safeguarding our soils. Defra will publish additional guidance this year on how farmers can best protect their soil. Later this year Defra will consult on a new Peat Framework for Action and publish the results of research on how best to protect our vital peatlands. Continued peat extraction: Damaging Natural Environments Peat moss bogs, which is where most of the peat moss comes from, are a non-renewable resource. They have developed their own ecosystems, which sustain life, and removing peat moss also destroys these environments. All of this will effect you and many generations to come, the whole process is not disimilar to strip mining as the plant involved will continually march on to extract new area'a as the methane becomes exhausted. The thing is that it would take years for the moss to recover from this and the release of greenhouse gas would be irreversible, all of this is being done because of the need for new and sustainable fuel sources which is part of the governments fuel strategy. However it is not sustainable and the damage to the environment may well be greater than any benefits gained. Remember that most of this is in the control of your local council who seem to yield to the constant demands of development companies. If you don't like it you can have your say at the polling booth on May the 6th. Mark Armstrong, Independent candidate for Irlam
 
Steed wrote
at 20:18:04 on 16 April 2010
Emma? Is that short for Emma Peel - Peel Holdings?
 
Emma wrote
at 16:00:42 on 16 April 2010
How many of you actually take a walk up the moss??? Peat has been taken from Irlam moss for the best part of 30 years and more... why are you only just coming to its rescue now??? its a case of nimby... would you care if this was in london or scotland... thought not... Should a protester have been hurt or seriously injured who would you have blamed... i think not yourselves... wandering on to a property that operates heavy machinery and trying to climb on top of them is ridiculous... These men at the end of the day who you describe as reacting aggressively and using abusive language... what do you expect... they are employed by the company you are protesting against and trying to earn a living for themselves and their family... If they wandered into your 9-5 mon-fri office job and started jumping on your desk am sure many of you would not stand for it... so why should they?
 
MARIE HARVEY wrote
at 11:56:54 on 16 April 2010
Well done to these young men who stood firm in the face of the greed of Peel Holdings. Unfortunately for us Peel Holdings think that they can run roughshod over everything they have possessed such as farm land, the moss lands even though places such as these have protection. An area of Special scientific interest is not safe from their greed. Our peat land and in particular Irlam Moss should be saved from their wanton destruction otherwise it will be lost for our future generations to come. There will be nowhere to take children for a nature ramble, the only way to see rare plants will be in books or on the internet because they have been destroyed by Peel Holdings. Are they really so uncaring and callous that nothing will be left untouched by them? What do they do for the community at large? What do they put back into this world they live in? Can somebody please tell me because I am sure that I don't know? How can the councillors' who are supposed to represent us the electorate be so naive as to think Peel Holdings are good, you only have to look at the latest plans to extract methane gas from Chat Moss to see that they have had the wool pulled over their eyes, it is not green, it is not safe and the chemicals used to extract it are carcinogenic, they destroy the surrounding land making it unusable for farming, and they are looking at letting Peel do this. NO WAY...THEY MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE THEY DESTROY CHAT MOSS, IRLAM AND CADISHEAD MOSS AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT PLACE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST.
 
Dominc wrote
at 11:56:44 on 16 April 2010
I totally support your actions on this issue. The peat bog needs greater protection. It appears to me that this is an obvious example of limited natural resources being plundered in the name of profit.
 
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