St David's Wood and Harry Potter

Rowan ladyrowan100 at
Fri Feb 13 01:44:21 GMT 2004

>From today's SchNEWS:

Five acres of St Davids Wood in Blackwood, south Wales, is currently
under threat of being trashed for the sake of an access road to an
industrial park – and would already be gone if it wasn't for some
hardy protesters and a ten-year local campaign which involved two
High Court battles. This camp needs urgent help to protect the site –
but before you go down to the woods, you'd better leaf through the
dusty pages of Hogwart's book on tree protest wizardry

We now know that magic can happen in the woods, but things got truly
surreal this week when Harry Potter weaved a spell into the story.
This new development has come about because contractors Costain and
the Caerphilly Borough Council have used the obscure `Harry Potter
ruling' to secure a High Court civil injunction on the entire camp.
In the Harry Potter case, some of the kid wizard books went missing
from the publishing company Bloomsbury and were then given to the
press before publication. Because the company didn't know the
specific names of the persons who had taken the books, they simply
described them to the court. The court then decided for the first
time that persons described, rather than actually named, could be
defendants to an injunction. This means an injunction can be served
against anybody – no names are needed – so therefore any person
entering or remaining in a specified area (the woodland at
Blackwood, in this case) can be immediately removed. Bindmans, the
solicitors giving free legal advice to the camp, told SchNEWS "it's
the first time the `Harry Potter ruling' has been used against

The injunction is a useful legal tool for companies wanting to get
rid of pesky protesters. In the hearing for the Blackwood case, the
judge only heard evidence from the `interested party' – the
developers – leaving the defendants (the protesters) with no chance
to defend themselves. It is possible to later appeal the injunction
in court – but it becomes a David and Goliath battle between a
cashed up company and a campaign which doesn't get legal aid.

The woodland under threat – owned by Costain and under the spell of
Harry Potter – is now `protected' from protesters, but while the
trees are still under threat, the protest camp itself is on
adjoining land NOT owned by Costain, making it safe from eviction
for the moment.

Currently, the anti-roads campaigners are trying furiously to mix a
legal potion to fight the Harry Potter ruling – throwing in such
ingredients as the Section 6 status of the camp and the presence of
dormice on Costain's woodland site. It's a shame that the dormice
can't get an injunction so they can live undisturbed. Work stopped
on the site when dormice - were found. Legally, dormice are
protected and they must be "re-located" (evicted) if the chopping of
the trees is to continue– but work has continued, around their
habitat. The presence of dormice has meant that a wildlife group is
taking Costain to court and maybe even criminal proceedings will
occur, but don't hold your breath as courts tend to be more chummy
with the likes of Costain than dormice lovers.

We asked one protester on site, Holly, if the protest camp was
mostly Twyford Down or Newbury veterans like herself? She told
SchNEWS that while there is unbelievable local support, there is
also a whole new generation of protesters present. This is the
generation who took the anti-war protests by storm last year, so
watch out cos hopefully there's plenty more where they came from.

People and climbing equipment are needed at the camp now. To contact
the camp phone 07952 774525 or 07708 420446 For a map and details

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