Rising Up would like to respond to recent press coverage, particularly BBC Points West, which has accused activists and protesters of leaving the Stapleton allotment site in a bad state. We would just like to make it clear that the “mess” left behind after the occupation was caused by bailiffs, rescuers, security and bulldozers smashing up what was an orderly camp including trees sits, a kitchen, sheltered areas, benders, tents and a composting toilet.
The items we brought on site were all practical and part of daily life. Many Rising Up supporters have commented on the Rising Up Facebook page about the Points West report including supporter Fiona Stedman who stated “The reportage of this clearance of the camp is very biased and does not show the shocking vandalism created by the machines involved in the clearance nor how the site had been maintained by the protesters prior to the eviction. Disappointing local journalism.”
Rising Up spokesperson Belinda Faulkes states that “Activists made a huge effort to tread lightly on the land and strove towards an organised and tidy camp set up. Activists even cleared up fly tipped waste, which the council had left on the smallholding land for over a year, putting it into massive dump sacks to be taken away. Metal scrap found on the land was also collected and made into a piece of art.
As we understood it we have been evicted and are not allowed on the land due to the possession order to remove items. Despite this some of us have gone back to the site to retrieve possessions to find that many of them been crushed or have disappeared into the mess left by the bulldozers.
Rising Up showed the upmost respect to the wildlife whilst on site attempting to limit impact on the local ecology. We condemn the mindless destruction of wildlife habitat carried out during and since the eviction.
This unnecessary destruction goes against any works guidelines for this wildlife rich Conservation Area– such as those set out in the MetroBus works documentation – we call for this to be stopped and investigated immediately.
Rising Up have submitted a statement for the full Bristol City Council meeting this evening. The statement contains a demand for the immediate cessation of works on Stapleton allotments until clarification on funding approval, planning consents and conditions and correct adherence to environmental management and mitigation. There is an urgent need for transparency and adherence to due process. We want to stop this road but we also have strong reasons to suspect that due process is not being adhered to and the Council and Planning department must be held to account. “