Roads: Glen of the Downs, Carrickmines and Tara

Campaigns against the development of major motorways through environmentally sensitive areas have long been a feature of environmental movements across the developed world. This form of anti-infrastructural protest gained prevalence in the late 1980s and 1990s when members of US Earth First began a series of protests around Europe. The most famous of these occurred at the Newbury by-pass and at Twyford Downs in the UK. The direct action of anti-roads protesters attracted a radical element to the environmental cause that were willing to take extreme measures, such as chaining and tunnelling, to prevent construction continuing. Earth First’s international mobilisation of local, single-issue anti-roads campaigners turned the nature of roads protests on its head. Where once local voices struggled to be heard Earth First’s experience in radical action provided a number of experienced and committed activists for an issue that could be ignited anywhere that roads developments were being undertaken. Following on from the defence camps in Greenham Common, where a women’s coalition had protested about the stationing of Trident missiles in the 1980s, the British anti-roads protests laid the foundations for the anti-globalisation protests of today, linking committed activists across Europe and North America in a common cause which combined opposition to growth economics with ecological concepts. The campaigners used internet technologies to link global groups around local issues and set the tone for ecological activism in subsequent years. In Ireland, local activists emerged with their own approach of holding a vigil for woodlands under threat from roads.


Heritage Site Commit Activist National Monument Scenic Beauty Green Party 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

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