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Battle for Twyford Down remembered
A RALLY is being held in Hampshire today to mark the 20th anniversary of the campaign against extending the M3 through Twyford Down.
The Campaign for Better Transport is organising the event at St Catherine's Hill, Winchester , this afternoon to remember the actions by protestors in 1992.
They led to delays in the project and costly legal action, but the motorway was still built.
Right from the beginning of the work, some protesters began taking direct action. This included attempting to prevent some old railway bridges from being demolished.
A group of new age travellers, who came to be known as Dongas, moved onto the land.
On an infamous day in December 1992 security guards moved in to break up the camp. It came to be known as “Yellow Wednesday” after the jackets the security workers wore.
Eventually the new section of the M3 was completed in 1994.
However, it became a cause around which environmentalists could gather and when the new Labour Government came to power in 1997 and dropped the Conservative road-building programme, Twyford Down was hailed as a key factor.
Chris Gillham, of Winchester Friends of the Earth, who took part in the protest and will be at today’s rally, said he was disappointed with what the original protest had achieved long-term.
He said: “For about 10 years afterwards we thought it had changed the world, but now we as a country seem to be back building big road programmes again and we seem to have learned nothing.
“You do wonder what we achieved, but I think we left a tremendous legacy when you look at big subsequent protests like at Newbury with the tree dwelling. Twyford Down was the first of these big events. “The remarkable thing is they destroyed the down at the end of 1992 but the protest continued until 1994.”
Today’s event runs from 1-4pm.