November 25, 2017

The Luxulyan Occupation

A letter to the editor of The Times of London about the anti-nuclear camp at Luxulyan.

Dear sir,

As three who participated in the Luxulyan occupation right from the very start, and who attended the final day of the hearings in the Court of Appeal, we write to express our utter dismay at Lord Denning’s misrepresentation of events at Luxulyan.

It was assumed throughout the hearings that we were a group of professional agitators who had come from other areas to Luxulyan specifically to make trouble, in particular to help sabotage this country’s tottering economy, ‘interlopers’ we were referred to on many occasions, ‘rent-a-mob’ on others.

It was also implied throughout that violence at Luxulyan was always close to the surface and would erupt as soon as the CEGB forced an entry onto the site. On one occasion the judge read out a letter from the head office of the contracting company employed by the CEGB which stated explicitly that the drillers could not enter the farmer’s field to carry out their work for fear of being set upon by the protesters.

A visit to the site either by the judges or by yourselves would have revealed how totally unjustified these suggestions were. The representatives of the CEGB were free to enter any part of Rex Searle’s farm which they frequently did. The drillers who had to maintain the drilling rig and other equipment left on the site were always free to come and go whenever they pleased which they also did, in fact we soon got to know them quite well, had long discussions with them, friendships were struck up and it is rumoured that some were converted to the anti nuclear cause.

The protesters were nearly all local people, in any case very few lived outside that area that would be subjected to radioactive fallout as a result of an accident occurring at a nuclear reactor built at one of the sites at present being considered by the CEGB.

What they all had in common was a sufficient sense of responsibility to oppose the building of any further very dangerous, highly polluting and totally unnecessary nuclear-power stations anywhere in this country.

As repeatedly pointed out by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary the occupation was peaceful at all times. It is ironic that the only incitement to violence should have come from Lord Denning himself when he suggested that the CEGB should resort to ‘self-help’, in other words that they should take matters into their own hands and force us out themselves—also that the area should be surrounded by a barbed wire fence and patrolled by wild bulls.

It is even more ironic in view of recent events in this country that Lord Denning should have censured the local police for their excessive concern for good community relations. It is nice to know that here this policy has paid off, for if the protesters are moving out after six months’ occupation of Rex Searle’s farm, it is that they wish to avoid a confrontation with Mr Alderson’s police. At all costs his policy must be vindicated.

The alternative—that which is apparently favoured by Lord Denning—is that the police should transform itself into a foreign army of occupation—bludgeoning the local population into blind and slavish acceptance of the dictates of remote Westminster, designed, as everybody knows, to accommodate, for purely electoral reasons, the selfish short-term interests of a powerful and cynical pressure group, even if this means blighting and polluting the few remaining areas of this country that have not yet been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Bunyard

Edward Goldsmith

Nicholas Hildyard

Editors of The Ecologist

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